Grains harvest seen down by about a third

Greece will see a drop of about 30 percent in its grain harvest this year due to a mostly dry and warm winter and heavy rains just before the harvest, officials said yesterday. «We see a very reduced grains harvest this year,» Thomas Notos, Agriculture Ministry director of major crops, told Reuters. «I see it ending up at around 30 percent lower compared to last year.» Notos said the overall quality of the crop would also be affected due to heavy rains just before the harvest. «The quality will be compromised for sure,» Notos said. Overall area increased by about 20 percent compared with last year. Specific tonnage estimates were expected in about a month. Last year’s harvest was about 1.1 million tons of durum, 250,000 tons of soft wheat and about 1.7 million tons of maize, officials have said. Farmers in central and northern Greece have reported 50-60 percent drops in durum wheat yields. «In the Thessaly plains during harvesting last week, we saw areas where output was down by 50 or 60 percent,» General Confederation of Greek Agrarian Associations board member Charalambos Orfanidis told Reuters, adding that pests had also been a problem there. The region of Thessaly is one of Greece’s biggest durum wheat-producing areas. Orfanidis said a good harvest was about 2 tons per acre but farmers were bringing in about one ton or even less. Soft wheat farmers, mainly in northern Greece, will start harvesting in the coming two weeks. The Greek Union of Agriculture Cooperatives (PASEGES) said other areas including Magnesia showed a drop in grains output of as much as 70 or 80 percent. «This damage was caused by the extended dry period and the subsequent intense rainfall, which undermined the quality of the production,» PASEGES said on its website. (Reuters)

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