EU and Eastern Europe drought causes damage to wheat, maize and barley crops

EUROPE – The drought in many regions of the European Union and Eastern Europe has caused significant damage to wheat, maize and barley crops, according to FAO of the United Nations.

FoodingredientsFirst reported that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said that the prices of these crops could remain under upward pressure.

Although the agency believes that the overall effects of the recent droughts are not yet alarming, there may be a need for alternative solutions if the cost of these ingredients continues to rise.

Weather conditions are affecting the quality of the wheat as well as its quantity; because of the drought, the failing number is unusually high.

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There have been reports that the governments of drought-hit German, Swedish, Finnish, Lithuanian and Danish farmers are considering special aid packages.

“We are currently revising our forecasts to account for the impact of adverse on crops in Europe.

Overall, wheat crops, maize and barley will see downward adjustments in production prospects and this is creating some concern,” said Peter Thoenes, Economist – Trade and Markets Division at the FAO.

“We are looking at lower supplies than originally expected.

However, we are not calling for any alarming situations at this point because fortunately bumper crops have been collected in the past four years, which will provide a cushion for any shortfall this year.

Prices are moving upward, although our latest Food Price Index hasn’t even caught this trend yet.

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In the last week of July, prices started rising and they will probably continue to strengthen.”

While the grain is growing, a large amount of amylase is needed to form its starch content. The amylase is broken down again before dormancy.

At high moisture levels, the grain starts to prepare itself for germination and forms amylase again.

If the wheat is harvested after an extended dry period, as is the case this summer, the grain is fully dormant and therefore contains very little amylase.

In the past, when millers wanted to lower the resulting high falling number, they usually added malt flour to their product.

Malt flour is made from germinated cereal grains such wheat, barley or rye and contains significant amounts of α- and β-amylases.

In this way, it is possible to lower the falling number and improve browning and to some extent the volume yield.

However, when added in large amounts, malt flours quickly results in wet doughs with poor stability.

In order to standardize the baking properties of the flour and meet the specifications, different malts and enzymes had to be added.

With Mühlenchemie’s solution – Deltamalt FN-A – millers now have access to an enzyme system that optimizes both the falling number and the baking properties of the flour simultaneously.

“The failing number is an important part of the flour specification for millers.

Bakers expect a standardized flour so that they can use all the other ingredients as usual.

In this case, the impact is expected to be seen mainly at the mills,” said Martina Mollenhauer, Product Manager for Mühlenchemie.

“In general, several raw material prices will increase because of the reduced yield. This will affect crops like wheat and maize and their products, e.g., native starches, sugar products and vital wheat gluten.

All products made from wheat, maize, potatoes, etc. will be affected,” she explained.

FoodingredientsFirst also added that other dairy companies are also following the situation closely.

“As a dairy cooperative owned by the farmers who supply our milk, Arla is closely monitoring the critical situation that the ongoing heat and lack of rain has left many of our farmers in.

So far we have not registered any noticeable decline in our milk intake due to the drought, but our farmer-owners are already having to use of their autumn feed, so the feed situation on the farm can become critical and milk production could drop in the coming months if we don’t see more rain soon,” commented Thomas Carstensen, Senior Vice President, Milk & Trading at Arla Foods amba.

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