September 28, 2012
Ukraine reaches 96% of the rapeseed planting acreage forecast
As of September 21, Ukraine's winter rape planting campaign is almost over with 911,000 hectares, or 96% of the forecast area of 950,000 hectares, planted with winter rape.
This year's weather conditions are quite favourable for planting in the central, northern and western regions of Ukraine. Owing to good soil moisture, farmers in these regions have already planted more than projected. Almost all the winter rape was sown at an optimum time.
Soil moisture in the South remains insufficient and the planting targets are lagging.
A feature of the 2012 planting campaign was farmers' refusal to sow rape into dry soil in the hope for future rain, as was done previously. Southern farmers seeded winter rape in dry soil last year, but rain came with a significant delay and seedlings consequently failed to emerge on 229,100 hectares, or 23.8% of area.
Farmers now prefer either to delay planting until rain or not plant at all. Therefore increase in winter rape plantings for the 2013 harvest is not expected. According to estimates, they will total 950,000-960,000 tonnes, or as much as last year's 962,000 hectares.
However, rape plantings may be reduced in Ukraine in the long term. The reason is that the EU may impose restrictions on the use of biofuel from crops due to fears that this product is less environmentally friendly than believed before and due to competition with food production.
The new bill also envisages the abolishment of all subsidies for biofuel production from crops such as rapeseed, wheat and sugar after 2020. The European Commission believes that biofuel production may be subsidised after 2020, if it leads to substantial mitigation of greenhouse emission. This bill is to be approved by the EU national governments.
In particular, France urges taking a pause in developing the biofuel industry and Austria has already suspended the launch of a programme for increasing the share of bioethanol in fuels - this may also impact the rapeseed-using biodiesel industry.