EU oilseeds output forecast to fall

A 19% drop in European rapeseed area will lead to a significant decline in the EU’s oilseed area and production in 2019/20, according to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

The USDA said on 17 September that if the 17.8M tonnes projection was realised, it would be the smallest rapeseed crop since 2007/08.

The decline in rapeseed hectarage, from 6.9M ha in 2018/19 to 5.6M ha this year, was due to drought during the planting in the summer and the autumn of 2018, World Grain reported.

It was also due to insufficie.nt rain in the following winter and spring as well as high pest pressure in some areas of Bulgaria, France, Germany and the UK.

“Significant areas were replanted with other spring crops,” the USDA said.

“In summer 2019, drought and extremely high temperatures hit most of the major rapeseed production regions in central and northern Europe.”

Although sunflower and soyabean production were forecast to increase by 3% and 1% respectively, the 19% fall in rapeseed production meant that overall EU oilseeds output in 2019/20 was projected to be down by nearly 6% year-on-year, falling from 32.4M tonnes in 2018/19 to 30.5M tonnes.

“Soyabean production increases are due to higher yields per hectare, whereas sunflower production increases are due to increased hectarage in Bulgaria, France, Romania and Spain,” the USDA said.

The USDA also noted that EU soyabean imports and crushing were expected to decrease in 2019/20, with higher meal imports to satisfy feed demand in the growing poultry sector.