Harvest starting in first regions

Widely different expectations in the AGRAVIS areas of operation

The first harvesters are already in the fields, heralding the start of the 2019 harvest. AGRAVIS experts describe the current situation in individual regions in the company's operational area. They also provide assessments on harvest expectations.

East Frisia expects good 2019 harvest

After good sowing conditions in autumn 2018 and good growth conditions to date, Stefan Pielsticker, Managing Director at AGRAVIS Ems-Jade GmbH, and his team are expecting a good harvest in East Frisia in 2019: “Winter grains were able to form good, deep roots in most areas and have a good water supply as a result. However, plants on sandy soils are suffering from water shortage.” His forecasts anticipate good yields and qualities at the moment. Winter barley harvests are expected to start at the end of calendar week 28 but are also anticipated earlier in some unproblematic locations. AGRAVIS Ems-Jade GmbH is expecting the start of the wheat harvest towards the end of July.

Uniform pattern in Lower Saxony

The first barley has been reaped in AGRAVIS Niedersachsen-Süd GmbH's (ANS) area of operations. “The quality is generally good for such an early date, but yields are not yet representative of the harvest,” states Friedrich Niemeyer, Grain Dealer at ANS. The highly uniform pattern also applies to expectations for harvests from other grain varieties. In the ANS region, soils ranges from those baked by the drought and heat through to those where farmers are pleased to see that the strong precipitation in recent weeks has apparently ended. “It is still too early for us to make reliable, representative statements about qualities and quantities for the coming harvest, also due to continued uncertain weather forecasts,” says Niemeyer.

Barley harvest started in the east

Baro Lagerhaus GmbH has already recorded the first barley in all four federal states in its area of operations (Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Brandenburg, Thuringia). Qualities are rather mixed as expected, according to Wilhelm Winkelmann, Agricultural Trader at Baro Lagerhaus GmbH. The first threshing results are still not representative yet. Winkelmann states that the area sown with rapeseed is relatively small this year, half of what the long-term average is. “Rapeseed's performance is mediocre,” says the Baro expert. He expects the harvest to begin in early July. The situation overall in the Baro region is dominated by extreme heat over recent days. “This will have an impact on the fields,” states Winkelmann, fearing losses. He doesn’t expect a harvest as bad as 2018, but 2019 won’t reach the average levels of previous years either.

Harvest expected to start as normal in East Westphalia

"The grain crops in the AGRAVIS Kornhaus Ostwestfalen GmbH operations area are ripening and growing at an average rate, so we expect a normal harvest period or at the usual time for the region," explains Stefan Bobbert, Field Sales at AGRAVIS Kornhaus Ostwestfalen GmbH, and adds: “The last hot, dry days may be speeding up final ripening somewhat, but the average date for the main harvest will not be before 15 July.” There has been heavy rain in the Höxter district since mid-May. Hail also caused damage, amounting to between 7 and 45 per cent of crops, depending on the region. “Hail damage was particularly severe in the Warburger Börde district, affecting between 20 and 45 per cent of crops. As a result, impacts on grain can be seen in crops and rapeseed pods are also more prone to disease. It can also be observed that some rapeseed crops are turning a lighter colour,” reports Stefan Bobbert. The expert states this is probably due to insect damage from February. “Overall, however, we are not seeing any losses in quality at the moment.” AGRAVIS Kornhaus Ostwestfalen GmbH also expects a normal to good harvest in terms of yield volume.

Harvest

Prospects for stable harvest result in South Westphalia

The harvest forecast for the region where AGRAVIS Westfalen-Süd GmbH operates is mostly positive. The barley harvest is imminent in the south-eastern Ruhr region, Sauerland and Siegerland. As the main harvest season is about to start, Frederik Fischer-Neuhoff, responsible for grain trade at AGRAVIS Westfalen-Süd, is expecting a better result than in the previous year. “We are anticipating 8 to 8.5 tonnes per hectare for barley,” he states. The last rains came just in time before the harvest. The grain specialist expects a harvest of 9 to 9.5 tonnes per hectare for wheat, although other varieties such as rye are also making their mark right now. However, Fischer-Neuhoff is hoping for rain over the next few days. “15 to 20 litres per square metre would be ideal within a period of two days,” he says. Rain is also decisive for the second grass harvest. The first harvest was excellent. All we need now is rain to produce a good second harvest.

Rapeseed is currently a worry. Pests and weather blight the prospects for a productive harvest. A maximum of 4 tonnes per hectare is expected this season.

Maize fields in Franconia causing anxiety

Last year's severe drought resulted in a very good soil structure for sowing in Franconia last autumn and for the spring. “It was crucial for nitrogen fertilisation to be applied at the right time in the spring, because there was no significant rainfall from mid-March to the end of April,” explains Andreas Grambs from AGRAVIS Bamberg. More rain than average followed in May, ensuring crops were able to continue growing very nicely.

However, the great heat over the last two weeks has reduced the yield from wheat and maize. “We’re expecting an average to very good grain harvest in Franconia. We're anticipating everything from a very poor to a partly good rapeseed harvest from the little rapeseed remaining in the fields,” says Grambs. Maize fields are causing anxiety at the moment. They will urgently need water over the coming days; otherwise, severe losses in yield can be expected of between 30 and 50 per cent.