June 10, 2010


Ukraine farmers switch from rapeseed to soy



Ukraine farmers are switching oilseeds, and making up for an ill-fated rapeseed crop by ramping up soy sowings by 40%.


Analysts have further cut their forecasts for the rapeseed crop by a further 4.5% to 1.61 million tonnes, saying that the majority of underdeveloped winter rapeseed crops were lost during the winter.


According to regional sources, this crop was considered lost on a total area of 535,000 hectares, 37.7%, as of late May. Ukraine's cold winter left many crops trapped in ice crusts for more than a month, and prompted a return to historic levels of winterkill in cereals too after two mild winters.


However, Kiev-based analyst UkrAgroConsult lifted its forecast for soy sowings by 5% to 910,000 hectares, saying the oilseed has become a popular choice for reseeding fields written off to cold damage.


"Its areas may expand not only in the traditional Steppe and Forest-Steppe zones, but also in the Forest zone, where early-ripening varieties ensure good yields," the group said.


Besides relatively high international prices, compared with grains, soy has strong domestic prospects thanks to growth in Ukraine's hog and poultry sectors, analysts said.


Ukraine's soy production will jump by 38% to 1.4 million tonnes this year, taking it far ahead of that in the EU, a big export market for the country, which will produce 1.0 million tonnes of the oilseed this year, according to the USDA.


Indeed, Ukraine's poor rapeseed crop has added to the supply fears which have supported Paris prices of the oilseed above EUR300 a tonne, even as the market has retreated.


Paris rapeseed for August delivery stood EUR1.75 higher at EUR311.25 a tonne in morning trade, with the November lot up EUR1.75 at EUR316.50 a tonne.


Prices of Canadian canola have gained 2.4% over the last two days, their strongest two-day run of the year, as wet weather delays its sowings the rapeseed variant.

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