The European Commission and the farmers’ interest group Copa-Cogeca have presented differing views on the forecasted 2017/18 oilseed harvest from the 28 EU member states (EU-28).

According to the Commision’s oilseeds and protein crops market outlook published on 30 March, the total European oilseed crop would reach 34.2M tonnes, up 9.9% from 31.2M tonnes in 2016/17.

The soyabean crop was expected to stay approximately steady at 2.5M tonnes, while the sunflower seed crop was projected to grow 6.8% from 8.5M tonnes to 9.1M tonnes and rapeseed 12.5% from 20M tonnes to 22.6M tonnes.

However, Copa-Cogeca forecast the EU-28 oilseed crop to remain under 31M tonnes, with soyabean and rapeseed harvests in particular lagging behind last year’s level, according to a Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) statement on 12 April.

Additionally, German agri-market information company Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft said it was too early in the year to make final evaluations.

The reported dry weather in some European production regions could prove critical, as sufficient rain in the incipient flowering stage are what determines yields, and occasional pests, such as pollen beetle, could still give rise to substantial changes in the oilseed balance.

Should the European Commission’s forecast come true, 2017 oilseed production could be the second largest in 10 years behind the record 2014/15 crop, UFOP said.