This year’s cereals harvest is seen even worse in September, according to the latest harvest estimate of the statistical office. The latest estimate was downgraded by 4% compared to the August one, both in terms of volume and yield. As a result, the cereals harvest is now estimated to be weaker by 7.9% in 2018 than in 2017, while yields are expected to fall by 6.7%. Wheat and barley are the cultures that contributed the most to poor results, as the wheat harvest is expected to be worse by 7.3% in volume (and 5.8% in yield), while the barley harvest should fall by 8.2% in volume (and 7.5% in yield). Unusually warm summer weather and insufficient precipitation are the primary reasons for poor performance this year. While we don’t expect bread prices to rise considerably, due to access to ample wheat imports, beer prices may increase, as demand relies mostly on domestic production.
Cereals were hardly the only culture to see a worse performance, as industrial sugar beet output was down 24.9%, while production of green and silage maize decreased by 14.2%. The latter may lead to an increase in meat prices, since that maize is widely used as cattle feed. To be fair, rape output rose by 20.7%, though it can only partially make up for the reduction of maize production.
Overall, results are not optimistic, though we guess climate changes will eventually lead to more frequent occurrences as this year’s harvest. What is worrying is that yields have been falling by very robust amounts, like a 17.2% drop in potato yields, suggesting much more losses due to unfavorable weather.