Romania’s wheat production dropped after drought damaged crops, with the harvest almost completed, the Agriculture Ministry said.
Farmers reaped 4.75 million metric tons as of today with 98 percent of the area harvested, Agriculture Minister Daniel Constantin said at a conference in Bucharest. That’s 34 percent below last year’s production of 7.2 million tons and compares with 5.79 million tons harvested at the same time last year, according to Constantin and data on the ministry’s website.
Crops in Romania have been battered by a heat wave with temperatures as high as 41 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit). The heat has depleted soil moisture, with moderate to extreme drought across most growing regions, according to the national weather agency.
“The wheat output is indeed smaller than last year but from my point of view this isn’t alarming,” Constantin said. “This doesn’t mean we won’t have enough to meet food requirements. I spoke to traders, I can tell you that exports in 2012 are lower than in 2011, which makes us believe domestic needs won’t be affected at all.”
Wheat yields are estimated at about 2.6 tons a hectare (2.47 acres) this year from 3.5 tons in 2011, the minister said. Romania was the European Union’s fifth-largest wheat producer last year, behind France, Germany, the U.K. and Poland, according to data from the bloc’s statistics office.
The heat wave may damage Romania’s corn and sunflower crops, after temperatures remained above 33 degrees Celsius for almost a month, the minister said.
“We can’t necessarily say that water in the soil hasn’t been enough in April and May, but the fact that temperatures haven’t dropped below 33 degrees over 29 days simply overwhelmed the plants and will probably affect the crops to a larger degree than the wheat crop,” he said.
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