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Big crops seen in Europe

Favourable growing conditions in the past month led the European Union’s crop monitoring unit to raise its 2013 yield forecasts on Monday for the bloc’s main cereal harvests.

The move was in keeping with upward revisions made by other forecasters this month after EU crops recovered from a damp, chilly spring that had hampered plant growth.

In a monthly report, the MARS unit said it had raised its yield estimates for all cereals, with the exception of durum wheat, for the 28-member EU including Croatia that joined the bloc on July 1.

For soft wheat, the EU’s most produced cereal, it now projected a 2013 yield of 5.69 tonnes a hectare (85 bu/ac), up 4.9 per cent from 5.42 tonnes last year, after raising its outlook for all countries apart from Italy, Bulgaria, Finland and Greece.

Last month, MARS had forecast 5.55 tonnes a hectare for the EU-27 not including Croatia. Its new forecast included an estimated 4.93 tonnes a hectare for the new EU member.

MARS does not issue production or area estimates.

In barley, the average EU-28 yield for winter barley was now expected at 5.48 tonnes per hectare (102 bu/ac), up 5.2 per cent on last year, supported by upward revisions for top producers Germany and France.

For spring barley, the EU average was put up 10.9 per cent at 4.33 tonnes (80 bu), which MARS called a “exceptionally high” level reflecting an “excellent” situation in Spain where it expects the yield to jump 73.2 per cent to 3.94 tonnes.

The EU grain maize yield was projected at 7.22 tonnes a hectare (115 bu/ac), up 18.9 per cent on 2012, but MARS said crops remained vulnerable after enduring heavy spring rain, notably in northern Italy and southwest France.

Among non-cereal crops, MARS said it had raised its rapeseed yield outlook slightly to 3.08 tonnes a hectare (55 bu/ac), still down 1.1 per cent on last year, and reduced its sugar beet forecast to 70.14 tonnes a hectare, though this was still up 0.6 per cent on 2012.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by David Evans)

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