HAMBURG, March 17 (Reuters) – Germany’s 2022 wheat harvest was down 5.8% from a year earlier to 22.61 million tonnes, the country’s agricultural cooperative association said on Thursday in its first harvest estimate.
* The entity forecasts that the German winter rapeseed harvest in 2022 will increase by 11.6% compared to last summer to 3.90 million tons, after an increase of 8.6% in the area sown.
* Germany is a major wheat exporter and good harvests would help offset disruption to global supplies from fighting in Ukraine that has affected Ukrainian and Russian supplies, traders say.
* Grain importers around the world are grappling with soaring prices after Ukraine’s exports were halted and Russia’s sharply reduced after the conflict, which Moscow calls a “special operation,” shut down the ports.
* German grain has fared well after a winter without major frost damage to crops, according to the association. However, crops are not hardened for winter and some could be vulnerable to late-season frosts.
* But the association said fertilizer supply cuts caused by sanctions on Russia mean that German farmers are facing costs four times higher than last year. “This could negatively impact the size and quality of the crops,” he added.
* Germany is the second largest producer of wheat in the European Union, after France, and for many years the largest producer of Rapeseed, Europe’s main oilseed for the production of edible oil and biodiesel.
* Germany’s winter barley crop, used mostly for animal feed, fell 0.4% from a year earlier to 8.85 million tonnes, due to reduced plantings, according to the association.
* The spring barley harvest, used for the production of beer and malt, differs and 13.3% after an increase in planting, 1.72 million tons.
* The grain corn crop will decline by 7% to 4.13 million tons, due to the expected reduction in yield.
(Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing in Spanish by Javier Leira)