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JRC Report Concludes Extreme Weather Won’t Affect Average Levels of European Crop Output for 2010; Yields Up, Although Acreage Down; Heat and Drought Have Huge Impact on Russia

The European Commission says cereal production in 2010 will be close to the average recorded since 2005. According to a report drafted by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the yield per hectare will be 5% above average, while cultivated areas will shrink on the whole.

Europe has faced a number of extreme weather events, such as floods and rain shortages, since the start of the year. In its report, the JRC notes that bumper harvests in some EU areas have helped counterbalance the effects of poor weather on crops in other areas. The report also says that even though the EU’s cereal harvest should reach average levels this year, extreme hot and dry conditions will have a huge impact on winter crop production in Russia.

Russia has already issued a ban on exports of wheat, corn, barley, rye and flour from 15 August through to the end of the year due to the wildfires that have devastated the country. Russia ranks fourth on the global list of wheat exporters.

Europe was hit by very low temperatures in December 2009, as well as in the first three months of 2010. The extreme cold kept farmers from starting their season on schedule. Meanwhile, both spring and early summer brought a severe shortage of rain to Belgium, the Czech Republic, northern Germany, Greece, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, eastern Poland and the UK. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia were hit by floods in the spring. Very high temperatures were recorded in Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands in June and July coupled with low rainfall.

The JRC used an novel crop yield forecasting system to provide yield estimates for the main crops across the EU. Based on its findings, the yield forecast for cereals, including wheat, barley and maize, is 5.1 tonnes per hectare across the EU, up 0.7% year-on-year, and 5.0% higher than the five-year average.

Estimates show that the overall area used in the EU for cereals in 2010 shrank by 3% year-on-year. Since 2005, individual crop yield figures in general rose in the EU-27. For cereals, grain maize recorded the biggest jump (+7.7%), followed by barley (+4.4%), soft wheat (+1.7%) and durum wheat (0.3%). For other crops, sunflower increased 7.2%, representing the highest increase in the bunch, followed by potato (+6.9%) and sugar beet (+2.3%). Rape seed was down 2.4%.

The report also estimates that the yield for soft wheat will top the five-year average. However, two leading producers from Germany and France show below average yields that are also below the level recorded in 2009. It should be noted that the dry and hot conditions that surfaced there in recent weeks have also played havoc with the yields.

Spanish farmers will likely see their yields of durum wheat drop 16% below average thanks to the excessive rainfall that affected Andalucía during the winter, while their Italian counterparts, the major producers of durum wheat, will post a similar average yield to their French neighbors.

The report also notes that the dry and hot conditions did not make a huge impact on winter barley. Germany and France will likely report average levels compared to the five-year average, but a 4% drop on 2009 levels. Spain, which covers around 25% of the spring barley output, will probably have a yield that is 15% above the five-year average.




Is Russia included into Europe's average yields? If so, the total Europe yields may be negative. Meanwhile, wheat current and future price is at an all time high.


Let's say global warming DOES have an effect on climate and rainfall. Let's say most of our grain crop depends on rainfall for crop yields and lets say that we do not know what the outcome will be. Do you want to roll the dice? Do you feel lucky and are willing to take the risk at everyone's expense?


An increase of temperature has a positive effect on crop yield in the first place and as long a the increase of temperature is moderate, but then past a certain limit of temperature, yields drop sharply...Amen


We do not KNOW what will happen. We are messing with a system that is as large as the whole planet and we all depend on that system. It is foolish to say this or that will happen and that is a good thing. We have NO idea how all of this will turn out and if the coin flip comes up the wrong side, where will the people that advocated recklessness be? Will they just say "oops...who knew?" That is just the point, we DON'T know and should take the side of caution because the downside is possible extinction. It does not get more serious than that.


Yields can change rather quickly. A bit too dry or too hot or too cold + more insects & diseases & local forest fires etc and yields go down. It takes time to develop new (acceptable) resistant species but it is possible.

Hotter dry weather can may a real culprit by increasing evaporation, insects. diseases and forest fires. Those events, often combined, have deeper negative effects on yields of most crops.

Chris Jensen

If one makes the conjecture that we are rolling the dice the implied assumption is that as a whole we as humans, in this closed system of a planet, do actually have some effect on what happens. Is it really reasonable to expect that we can have such a huge effect on the planet? Are our egos that big that we feel that we can somehow alter that which was set in motion by massive forces outside of our control? I for one don't buy it. We are not yet that capable. At this point we are still subject to the whims of the universe. If the planet gets hotter we will adapt. If it gets colder we will adapt. However we will have no net effect on those changes.


Well.....we can deforest the globe and see what will happen.
......we can fill the atmosphere with different gases and pollutants and see what will happen.

Not so sure that we cannot alter climate and provoke changes.


Calculate how much CO2 comes out of a volcanic eruption. Then calculate how much CO2 we have put into the atmosphere in the last 50 years. The volcano may produce more, but we have been at it 24/7/365 for more than 50 years. 100 million years of naturally sequestered CO2 released in less than 100 years. It is not ego, it is reality and we do not know the consequences. Risky business.


Well said SJC. Erratic climate changes are going on in many places (Russia, Pakistan, China, South America, North of the Border etc). Let's see what the hurricane season will bring this year.

Much hotter weather North of the Border is having an impact on crops and not all positive. New insect ravages are taking place, starting with corn miniature grey worms. We do not know what will come next.

Farmers will have to adapt quickly to these new challenges. Russia, Canada, USA, China, EU, Argentina, Australia and many other grain producing countries may be affected soon.

Challenging times ahead.


More than 80% of our corn crop is NOT irrigated. All it takes is hotter weather year after year with reduced rainfall that continues on and on with no end in sight. We will reduce crop exports, increase the trade deficit and be in a bind that we can not fix.


If that happens, corn ethanol may have to be put on hold sooner than expected.


All the more reason to go with FFVs that run M85.

Henry Gibson

With high grain prices, children will go hungry just because corn is turned into ethanol to attempt to make up for raising the 55 mph speed limit and to falsify efforts to reduce CO2. CO2 would be more reduced if permanent trees were grown on corn cropland and more coal or oil was used to replace the biofuel. ..HG..


You use the grain for food and the stalks for fuel. I have said it before and I say it again and will continue to say it until everyone finally gets it.

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