EU rapeseed sowings for 2018 to drop, despite positive price signal

03.10.2017

A rebound in European Union rapeseed sowings appears to have run out of steam thanks to weather setbacks, Strategie Grains said, forecasting a small drop in area for the 2018 harvest.

The influential analysis group, in its first forecast for rapeseed plantings in the EU, the top grower of the oilseed, pegged area at 6.64m hectares.

That would end represent a drop of some 90,000 hectares year on year, and follow two years of recovery from a low of 6.49m hectares for the 2015 harvest.

With the great majority of EU rapeseed autumn sown – and, with a relatively early planting window, seeded ahead of wheat – the majority of the crop is already in the ground.

Rapeseed vs wheat

The prospect of a drop in sowings – to well short of the peak 7.0m hectares for the 2010 harvest - comes despite positive price signals, in terms of the relative value of rapeseed futures compared with winter wheat.

At a rate of 2.06 as of late August, for the Paris November 2018 rapeseed contract compared with the December wheat lot, this was above the average of roughly 1.95 for the time of year.

However, Strategie Grains flagged the setback to seedings from drought in south east Europe, and persistent rains in parts of northern Europe, notably Germany, the EU's second biggest rapeseed producing country.

The forecast tallies with a forecast last week from the International Grains Council that EU wheat sowings – an altogether larger concern, topping 150m hectares for the 2017 harvest, including durum – would be "broadly unchanged year on year".

The council also noted that "following a recent drought, additional rains are needed in several southern [EU] member states".

Sunflower shrinkage

Strategie Grains also forecast a small fall in EU sunseed area for the 2018 crop, of 2% to 4.1m hectares.

Overall oilseed area was pegged at 12.1m hectares, down some 1% year on year.


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