Grain yield fall could spark rise in bread price

Photo: Klára Stejskalová

Official estimates released on Monday suggest that drought will hit the Czech Republic’s 2018 grain harvest quite hard, causing a 7.5 percent decline in yield compared to last year. And that could well have a knock-on effect on the price of bread.

Photo: Klára Stejskalová
The Czech Republic’s long, hot summer looks set to impact this year’s grain harvest.

According to data released by the Czech Statistics Office on Monday, this year’s yield is likely to be 7.5 percent lower than that recorded in 2017.

Officials had earlier forecast even worse results, projecting a year-on-year fall of 8.2 percent.

However, even if the slightly more optimistic estimate proves correct, it will still be the third lowest yield recorded by Czech grain growers in the last 10 years.

Marek Rojíček is chairman of the Czech Statistics Office.

“It is to a marked degree caused by drought. What’s more, we’re going through the second dry year in succession. The numbers are mainly being dragged down by a lower yield of winter wheat, which in this country accounts for almost a third of the area sown. However, it is still the case that we are self-sufficient as regards grain production.”

The total volume of grain to be harvested in the Czech Republic this year should be 6,345 tonnes, according to the statisticians’ estimates, which are based on the situation in the middle of last month.

The expected decline is almost entirely due to a reduction in yield per hectare. It amounted to 5.07 tonnes per hectare in the first six and a half months of this year, representing a decline of 6.6 percent.

This shortfall could have an impact on consumers, if the reduced grain yield brings about a rise in the price of bread.

Jaroslav Chochole is the chairman of the Association of Millers and Bakers. He says the price of a bread roll could increase by up to 27 hellers after the summer.

Photo: Czech Television
“That’s seems to be how much the price will increase between the bakeries and the chain stores. And how much it will be later is a matter for the traders themselves.”

Mr. Chochole says the Association of Millers and Bakers will increase the price of flour from September.

By contrast, 2018 has so far been a good year for rapeseed. Its yield will likely be over 12 percent higher than last year, according to the Czech Statistics Office.

The reasons for the projected better rape results are a considerable jump in its yield per hectare and the fact that more arable land has been given over to the crop this year.