Coceral cuts 2024 wheat crop forecast for EU and UK due to heavy rains

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PARIS, March 20 (Reuters) - Grain trade association Coceral on Wednesday cut its forecast for this year's soft wheat output in the European Union and Britain by 5.4 million metric tons due to damage caused by heavy rainfall in the region.

In its second forecast for the next harvest, Coceral projected the EU and UK soft wheat harvest in 2024 at 134.1 million tons, down from 139.5 million estimated in December, and 4% below last year's 140.0 million tons.

"Record rainfall late last year had a major impact on winter cereal sowing (wheat/winter barley) in northwestern Europe (France, Germany, UK, Baltics, Poland)," Coceral said in a statement.

Spain’s soft wheat production in contrast is set to rise substantially after being ravaged by drought in 2023.

For barley, Coceral raised its estimate for 2024 production in the EU and UK to 61.2 million tons, up from 58.6 million in December, with better crops expected in Denmark, Finland, and Spain than in 2023.

It raised its corn crop forecast to 64.3 million tons from 63.7 million, up nearly 3% from 62.5 million tons harvested in 2023.

In oilseeds, Coceral expects the EU and UK rapeseed crop this year at 20.2 million tons, down slightly from the 20.3 projected in the previous forecast and from last year’s 21.3 million tons.

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; editing by Jason Neely and Bernadette Baum)

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