The 2017 EU rapeseed crop will probably be 8% higher than last year due to lower than expected winterkill losses although fears about insect infestations continue to generate uncertainty, according to Germany’s Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP).

“Rapeseed crops look good across Europe,” UFOP said in a press release on 1 March.

However, Strategie Grains reduced its forecast of the coming EU rapeseed crop by 0.5M tonnes to 21.56M tonnes due to indications of larger winterkill losses in Poland.

“Nevertheless, Poland is also expected to see an up to 21% rise in rapeseed output compared to 2016.

“According to Agrarmarkt Informationsgesellschaft, any further major losses are not expected in the EU28, with the result that the harvest estimate exceeds the previous year's figure.”

UFOP said that in France, the rate of ploughing up rapeseed land following the winter would not be higher than usual. However, an estimated 7% reduction in rapeseed area compared to 2016 would limit the crop potential considerably.

German rapeseed production was forecast at 5.1M tonnes, up 0.5M tonnes from a year earlier.

“In the UK, the winter rapeseed area is reported to have fallen to a 13-year low,” UFOP said. “Initial forecasts estimate the 2017/18 area planted with rapeseed at 0.52M ha, putting rapeseed output at 1.8M tonnes.”