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How are autumns developing in Europe?

Как се развиват есенниците в Европа?
Winter wheat crops in the European Union are not off to a very good start, analysts say. Planting in France, a major wheat producer, has been delayed by excessive moisture.

France's agriculture ministry is predicting a five percent drop in planted area in that country, according to Ana-Chiara Saguati, an analyst at Arete, an Italian agri-food information company. Missing the ideal wheat planting window could shift the focus to spring crops, she said.

The impact of Europe's wet autumn was also felt in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, northern Germany, Denmark, western Poland and Slovenia. If it weren't for the excessive rainfall, European Union winter wheat planting would likely have been on par with last year and in line with the five-year average, but now the situation is different.

The rainfall is the result of Cyclone Sierran, which ravaged the continent in late October and early November. Some parts of France were inundated with record rainfall during this period and the rain continued to fall even after Sierran cleared.

Water stagnation in the fields may have affected yield potential in terms of reduced germination and seedling development. However, experts are of the opinion that the growing season is too early to draw firm conclusions about yields. The picture will be clearer in the spring when wheat comes out of dormancy.

However, the European Commission and the US Department of Agriculture are at odds over how much wheat will be exported in the 2023-24 campaign.

The Commission forecasts that EU exports of common wheat will decrease by five percent this year, while the USDA estimates that total wheat exports (both common and durum) will increase by seven percent. For now, EU soft wheat exports are lagging behind last year's pace by 14 percent.

“The pace of exports needs to accelerate; otherwise, the EU will close the marketing year with quite high ending stocks," Saguati said.

She believes there will be strong competition in the export markets between the EU and Russia in the second half of the 2023-24 campaign. "Both origins should accelerate exports," she is emphatic.

The commission forecasts a 5.5 percent drop in EU wheat ending stocks in 2023-24, but that would still be 38 percent above the four-year average.

"The situation is further complicated by the fact that much of this year's European crop is of low quality, so stocks may be quite high but of low quality," said Saguati.

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