German rapeseed sowings for 2013 crop up
November 14, 2012
Germany’s winter rapeseed sown area for the 2013 harvest has been expanded by 9.1 percent on the year to 1.419 million hectares, German oilseeds industry association UFOP forecast on Tuesday. Highly favourable sowing conditions in the autumn drilling period and strong demand for rapeseed meant farmers increased sowings, the association said at an event at the Eurotier agricultural trade fair.
The association’s estimate is traditionally regarded as a key early forecast of Germany’s upcoming rapeseed crop. German rapeseed plants are currently in a good to very good state of development, the association said. This has created the initial conditions for a good 2013 rapeseed harvest in Germany, said association chairman Klaus Kliem.
Germany is, in most years, the European Union’s largest or second-largest producer of rapeseed, which is Europe’s most important oilseed for food use and a key feedstock for biodiesel production. UFOP said attractive rapeseed prices compared to wheat and barley were a major reason for the increased area. EU rapeseed prices touched all-time highs in July and again in September because of fears about drought damage to crops in the United States and Black Sea region, encouraging farmers when making decisions about sowings for their 2013 harvest.
Some 31 percent of German farmers contacted had decided to sell their 2013 rapeseed crop in advance, up from 27 percent last year, UFOP said. About 75 percent of Germany’s rapeseed crop is used for biodiesel feedstock, the remaining 25 percent as food. The EU Commission announced a major policy shift in September, saying it planned to limit food crop-based biofuels to 5 percent of consumption after criticism that biofuel output has been responsible for rising global food prices.
Biofuel producers have said that could devastate their business and bring an end to production of biodiesel from rapeseed in Europe. Kliem said Germany may have to turn to exports to replace the lost biodiesel market if the EU plans are introduced. This would put Germany in competition against rival oilseeds exports such as soybeans from the United States, Brazil and Argentina along with rapeseed from rival exporters such as Ukraine. Germany has in recent years been a rapeseed importer partly because of high demand for biodiesel. “With growing populations around the world there is strongly growing world-wide demand for vegetable oils and oilmeals,” Kliem said. “We will have to look to other markets to sell our rapeseed.”