HUNGARY (5 November)
Cereal output fell sharply this year reflecting reduced plantings and a long summer drought. Final official estimates put the aggregate small grains crop at about 5.6 million tonnes, some 20 percent down from the previous year’s good crop. Of the total wheat is estimated to account for 3.9 million tonnes, down from over 5 million tonnes last year. The likely outcome of the maize crop has been particularly difficult to assess this year because of a large disparity in yields from region to region depending on the impact of drought. However, based on the latest information from early October, when some 30 percent of the crop was estimated to have been harvested, it seems unlikely that the crop could exceed the lower end of the 6 to 6.3 million tonnes range forecast by the Ministry of Agriculture earlier in the summer. Last year a bumper crop of 7.8 million tonnes was gathered. Widespread rains in October, although interfering with the ongoing maize harvest, have been generally beneficial in replenishing soil moisture for winter grain planting after the past exceptionally dry season, particularly in southwestern parts.