July 15, 2020 / 9:04 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-German 2020 wheat harvest seen down, but rain helps

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HAMBURG, July 15 (Reuters) - Germany’s 2020 wheat harvest will fall 2.6% on the year to 22.46 million tonnes, but crops have benefited from recent rain, the country’s association of farm cooperatives said in its latest harvest estimate on Wednesday.

The estimate is up from 22.21 million tonnes in its last forecast in June, as crop development has been boosted by rain in past weeks after a dry spring, the association said.

It forecast Germany’s 2020 winter rapeseed crop would increase 13.7% from last summer’s especially poor crop to 3.21 million tonnes. That is also up slightly from the 3.20 million tonnes estimated in June.

Widespread rain in Germany in the past two weeks was positive for wheat and rapeseed yields, but has forced repeated stops to the winter barley harvest, the association said.

Grain and rapeseed are now ripening and sunny, dry weather is needed, it said. But rain is expected up to the end of this week.

Rapeseed harvesting has started in early areas, with the winter barley crop continuing to be gathered nationally. Rapeseed is especially vulnerable to late season rain, it added.

Germany is the European Union’s second largest wheat producer after France and in many years the EU’s largest producer of rapeseed, Europe’s main oilseed for edible oil and biodiesel production.

The winter barley crop, mostly used for animal feed, will fall 5.3% on the year to 9.24 million tonnes following a reduction in sowings, the association forecast.

The spring barley crop, used in beer and malt production, will likely increase 7.4% to 1.96 million tonnes.

The grain maize (corn) crop will increase 19.8% to 4.38 million tonnes because of an increase in planted area and an expected yield improvement, the association forecast. (Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Mark Potter)

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