The EU Commission (EC) has implemented two measures aimed at helping farmers struggling with the ongoing drought conditions in Europe, caused by the prolonged summer heatwave that has scorched the continent.

The first measure would enable farmers to receive 70% of their direct support payment and 85% of payments under rural development by mid-October, instead of the usual December date, which was intended to support harshly impacted farmer cash flows, wrote Platts on 3 August.

The second measure granted exemptions from specific greening requirements, allowing animal feed production on land that would normally not be permitted for such use.

The EC said that further derogations were under consideration to allow for more flexible feed production in support of livestock farming.

The moves provided support for farmers in addition to what they already receive under the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The CAP allowed for the provision of aid packages valued at up to 80% of the damage caused by drought, or 100% when a member state confirmed the drought situation as a “natural disaster”, Platts said.

The high temperatures and next to no rainfall had resulted in feedstock and grains prices rising through the roof across much of Europe.

In addition to food and feed producers, the situation had impacted biofuels markets with rising futures prices eating away at production margins, wrote Platts.

With biodiesel, rapeseed farmers were already using their winter stocks and some crushers were looking to maximise meal production at the expense of oil output, which Platts said could lead to a tightening rapeseed biodiesel market.

“According to the current outlook, production of rapeseed, the most important oilseed crop in the EU, could decline 10% to around 19.7M tonnes from the previous year. This would be the lowest value since 2012,” said German oilseeds trade association UFOP.