Brussels, 04th August 2010
European Commission forecasts average crop production for 2010 in the EU despite extreme weather
Total cereal production in 2010 should be close to the average from the last five years. While the yield per hectare will be 5% above average, overall cultivated areas have decreased. This agricultural year has been marked by unusual scattered weather events ranging from severe rain shortage to floods. However, the impact of poor weather on crops in some areas of the EU has been offset in other areas. This forecast, published today by the European Commission, is based on analysis by the Commission's in-house scientific service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), using an advanced crop yield forecasting system1.
In general, Europe saw a harsh winter with waves of exceptionally low temperatures in December, January, February and also in March (e.g. snowfall in Spain) leading to a delayed start to the season. Spring and early summer brought a severe shortage of rain in the United Kingdom, western France, Benelux, northern Germany, eastern Poland and Greece. Flooding occurred in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. On the other hand, Spain and Italy experienced favourable and abundant rain in spring. Northern and central France, Benelux and Germany experienced very high temperatures in June and July coupled with low rainfall.
The forecast published today by the European Commission provides yield estimates for the main crops throughout the European Union and identifies the areas most affected by stress conditions.
The yield forecast for cereals (wheat, barley, maize, other cereals) is 5.1 tonnes per hectare across the EU, the same level as last year (+0.7%) but above the five-year average (+5.0%). The total area used in the European Union for cereals in 2010 is estimated to have decreased by 3 % compared to 2009.
For individual crop figures across the EU27 over the last five years, the latest yield forecasts show the following trends2:
soft wheat: 5.62 t/ha (+1.7%)
durum wheat: 2.97 t/ha (+0.3%)
barley: 4.42 t/ha (+4.4%)
grain maize: 7.22 t/ha (+7.7%)
rape seed: 3.00 t/ha (- 2.4%)
sunflower: 1.80 t/ha (+7.2%)
potato: 30.10 t/ha (+6.9%)
sugar beet: 65.65 t/ha (+2.3%)
Soft wheat yield as a total is forecast to be above the five-year average, but forecasts for the two big producers France and Germany show below average yields that are also clearly below last year's level. In these countries, the dry and hot conditions experienced lately have prevented a better yield.
Italy, as the main producer of durum wheat, is forecast to have a similar average yield to France. In Spain, durum wheat suffered from excessive rainfall during the winter in Andalucía and yields are forecast to be 16 % below average.
Winter barley has been less affected than soft wheat by the dry and hot conditions. In the two main producing countries France and Germany, yields are forecast to be at average level, but 4 % below last year's level. Spain, which accounts for one quarter of spring barley production, is forecast to have a yield 15 % above the five-year average.
While the EU's cereal harvest should reach average levels, the JRC crop monitoring system identifies very critical conditions (hot and dry) that will severely affect winter crop production in Russia, and in particular along the Volga River.
During the agricultural season, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) regularly issues forecasts for the main crop yields and produces analyses of the impact of weather conditions on crop production. These are based on methodologies using satellite remote sensing and mathematical models which simulate crop growth.
The models and methodology in use have been conceived, experimentally developed and operationally implemented within the JRC. The crop yield forecasts, analyses and full description of the methodology are available at the following web addresses:
Disclaimer: The crop yield forecasts are based on an integrated use of statistical analysis, crop growth simulation models, observed climatic data and remote sensing observations. They are issued based on the hypothesis that the remaining part of the season will not face additional extreme events which would have an impact on summer crops (maize, potato, sunflower, sugar beet). The latest forecasts have been issued on the 20th of July based on data up to the 10th of July 2010.
It should be noted that for grain maize, potato, sunflower and sugar beet, figures are only projections at this stage as the harvest has not yet started in the main producing regions.