Initial reports are indicating that wheat yields in Romania have fallen by 43%, year-on-year, with the prospects for corn deemed to be equally devastating.

Eastern Europe plays a critically important role in supplying wheat to the world. Specifically, where Ukraine is concerned, any disruption in grain supply from that country quickly reverberates around global markets.

This has become patently obvious, given the developments of the past six months.

But, traditionally, the greatest disruptor to grain supply from Eastern Europe has been a fall off in yields. And this, too, has become a factor in 2022.

Romania borders Ukraine and is also a very important exporter of grain, courtesy of that country’s Black Sea ports.

Kildare native, Jim McCarthy, now farming in Romania, gave an update on the 2022 grain harvest across Eastern Europe courtesy of his contribution to the latest Tillage Edge podcast from Teagasc.

Commenting on the rainfall situation there, he said:

“Eastern Romania has received very little rain from the beginning of last September right up to the end of June.

“We started harvesting on July 1. Those wheat crops were grown with 220mm of rain. As a result yields are down 43%.”

Impact of rising temperatures

And, that situation is continuing to worsen for soyabean and corn, he explained.

“Corn is receiving huge temperatures at a time when it is very vulnerable. Once temperatures exceed 32°C, corn pollen becomes very susceptible to not producing seed.

“We have had temperatures in the range 34-35°C for a 15-day period and it has absolutely devastated corn crops.”

According to McCarthy, a number of corn growers are looking at the option of making silage from their corn crops this year.

However, it is an improved picture in the west of Romania, with that region receiving relatively plentiful rain last winter.

“Wheat and rape crops in that area have been good. But a week of temperatures that exceeded 40°C has taken its toll on corn and sunflower crops.

“The huge surge in temperatures over recent weeks is worrying everyone in Romania at the present time.”   

The capacity of the larger farms in Romania to plant crops is immense.

McCarthy confirmed that on his own properties a total of 16,000 acres were planted out between April 5-20 this year.

“This is a great facility, when it comes to getting crops established. In our own case, some 80ha of sunflowers did not emerge because it was new land that we were working for the first time.

“In contrast, our sugar beet crops are looking amazing, despite the fact that they have only received 10 inches of rain.”