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Sweden set for worst grain harvest in 15 years

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Sweden set for worst grain harvest in 15 years
11:30 CEST+02:00
Sweden is set to experience the worst grain harvest in 15 years due to adverse weather conditions during the sowing season and the summer, according to a new forecast from the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket).

The board forecasts that the total grain harvest for 2010 is set to amount to 4.8 million tonnes, around 8 percent lower that 2009 and around 3 percent down on the average for the past five years.

"This would thus mean the lowest overall harvest of grain since 1995," the board wrote in a statement on Thursday.

The board outlines the reasons for the poor harvest in the growth of the proportion of oil-yielding crops, such as rape seed, and its impact on acreage used for grains. Furthermore the cold winter and warm, dry summer have impacted the size of anticipated harvest.

Changeable weather during the cultivation season, combined with snow covered fields has impacted autumn crops while the dry hot summer has primarily hit sensitive soil, affecting growth, the board explained.

The board develops its forecast based on weather and crop harvest data from the previous years as well as data over cultivated acreage for 2010.

"Normally the forecast is an overestimation. This can mean that the result could be even worse that we have calculated," said Jimmie Enhäll at the board to news agency TT, adding that after several strong years and solid stock levels a poor 2010 harvest is no catastrophe.

With Sweden being a small player on the international grain markets the impact on the price of foodstuffs such as bread is likely to be small with harvests in USA, France and Russia more important for price development.

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