EU's rapeseed-harming dryness eases - in time to help grains

25.10.2016

Unusually dry weather, which marked much of the European Union and northern Russia, and got the rapeseed crop off to a poor start, appears to be easing – just in time to help autumn-sown grains.

The European Commission's Mars agro meteorology division underlined the setback to autumn-seeded rapeseed crops in France and Germany, the EU's top two producers, from a lack of rain during the planting window, which is earlier than for grains.

"As a consequence of the dry conditions, part of the rapeseed was not sown at all in France," Mars said, adding that "in most areas where rapeseed was sown, emergence was delayed due to the dry conditions."

In Germany, "conditions were similar, especially in the north and east of the country, where enduring dry conditions often prevented rapeseed from emerging properly," the unit said, in comments which follow a series of cautions of a poor start for the EU rapeseed crop for the 2017 harvest.

Mars also highlighted "high pest and disease pressure" in rapeseed seeded in the UK, the bloc's fourth-ranked producer, where farmers are "seriously questioning" the future of the crop, Strutt & Parker said last week.

'Overly dry soil'

However, for sowings of winter grains, which are still going on, recent rains have meant better prospects for crop establishment.

"In large parts of Germany, the Benelux countries and northern and western France, overly dry soil conditions have delayed sowing activities, but this situation has improved… and sowing activities can still be accomplished on time," Mars said.

Over, the weekend, showers favoured northwestern and southeastern France, Spain, central Germany, eastern Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, western Romania and former Yugoslavia.

This improved moisture for wheat and rapeseed establishments in the areas, according to Cropcast.

 'Driest on records'

The precipitation deficit was around 50 mm in Portugal, northern Spain, north-western France, northern Italy, western Germany, the Benelux countries, southern Scandinavian and the Baltic states, Mars said.

"This period proved to be among the driest on our records for these areas," Mars said.

Rainfall also remained less than half of the long-term average in northern and western Turkey, some areas north-east of the Caucasus mountain range and along the southern Mediterranean coastline.

In contrast, heavy rains in the first half of October were responsible for a marked rain surplus in Poland and south eastern Europe.

These rains somewhat delayed part of the harvest of grain maize and the sowing of winter cereals in Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, but benefited the emergence of earlier sown winter crops.

However, "sowing activities are still ongoing and, so far, the delays are perceived to be manageable."

Sugar Beet, sunflower forecasts up

Mars forecast for the grain maize slightly downwards, whereas potato, sugar beet and sunflower crops were revised a tad higher.

Mars lowered grain maize (corn)  yield prospects across the EU to 6.82 tonnes per hectare from 6.84 tonnes last month.

This marked a decline of 1.6% from the five-year average.

The service marked sugar beet and sunflower yield forecasts 2.8% up to 73.50 tonnes per hectare and 1.97 tonnes per hectare respectively


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