Below average rainfall in areas of Western Europe has led to increasing concern over winter crops according to the latest MARS crop monitoring report released on Monday by the EU Commission.
While general winter crop health is considered to be positive, concern over increased dryness may be a developing theme in the coming weeks.
The warmer conditions experienced so far this season have helped to drive earlier crop development in Spain, France and Italy. However, the earlier development has left the winter cereals crop susceptible to stress. Without sufficient rain the growing rain deficit in these regions could start to impact crop conditions. Particularly, if dry weather persists in one of the key growing regions of Spain, Castilla y León, yield potential for both wheat and barley could be impacted.
Furthermore, cold conditions and the risk of frosts have raised concern for the flowering of the rapeseed crop in eastern France and southern and western Germany.
Although it is still quite early in the season to assess the impact of weather concerns, European futures markets have rallied so far this week. The markets will continue to watch the European weather development with a keen eye following the impact of extreme weather on the French and German crop last year.
Report supplied by James Webster / Analyst, Market Intelligence, Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board