March 13, 2013
Ukraine's 2013 rapeseed crop seen to rise 17.5%
Ukraine's bumper grains harvest has boosted hopes for the oilseeds crop too this year, pegged at 14.3 million tonnes, a rise of 17.5% on-year.
The improvement is expected to be led by a jump to a five-year high of 2.0 million tonnes in output of rapeseed, after autumn-sown crops - helped by a "warm, wet fall", and a winter which brought enough snow to protect seedlings from frost damage entered the spring in unusually good shape.
Indeed, UkrAgroConsult estimated winter rapeseed losses at 8%, "at most", this season, the lowest in at least six years, and down from more than 50% in 2012.
"On the whole, winter rape condition in late February was one of the best in recent years," the Kiev-based group said.
The outlook is the latest in a series of upbeat signs for the 2013 world harvest of rapeseed, and the rapeseed variant, with the crop in Canada, the top exporter, seen rising above 15 million tonnes to a record high.
The harvest in Germany, historically the EU's top producer, is forecast by farm co-operatives to recover to 5.3 million tonnes.
Ukraine's rapeseed fortunes have a particular impact on the EU, the top consumer of the oilseed, with the country, which uses relatively little of the crop itself, a ready source of import supplies.
Abares, the Australian commodities bureau, has pegged the world rapeseed harvest at 621 million tonnes, a rise of 5%. However, that does factor in some crop setbacks, including in the UK, the EU's third-ranked producer, which is seen facing a sharp production decline thanks to unduly wet autumn weather, which encouraged slug attacks.
In Australia itself, Abares forecast a 5% drop to 2.9 million tonnes in output, reflecting a forecast of an 11% drop in sowings, "following a record planted area in the previous season". A dearth of rainfall is raising further worries for Australia's winter crops, although sowing is still some weeks away.
Ironically, Ukraine's benign weather has curtailed prospects for the country's important sunflower harvest, in limiting the amount of failed winter crops, and the areas needing reseeding in the spring.
"A small estimated area of winter crop reseeding and the early arrival of spring in the south, are allowing farmers to optimise their cropping pattern and not to expand sunflowers' share in the crop rotation," UkrAgroConsult said. However, growers may expand the area of soy a little, "due to strong domestic and foreign demand", leaving the crop on course for a record of about three million tonnes.
Even so Ukraine, while it has emerged as a force in corn exports, placed at a respectable fourth-place in the world rankings, has a way to go before gaining significant power in soy, of which world production is expected to total some 270 million tonnes in 2012-13.