USDA: Dry weather, neonicotinoid insecticide ban caused ‘substantial decrease’ in EU rapeseed production

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A rapeseed field in Cotswold, UK. Image: Eric Hossinger

Rapeseed is the dominant oilseed produced in the EU making the EU one of the world’s leadingproducers of rapeseed and products. The largest EU producers are France and Germany, followed by Poland, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, and Romania. Demand for rapeseed exceeds domestic supply which leads to the import of large quantities for crushing. EU rapeseed imports primarily come from Ukraine, Australia, and Canada.

Dryness in summer and fall 2018 reduced EU rapeseed plantings to the lowest level in over 10 years.This was followed by insufficient precipitation in winter and spring 2019 and high pest pressure in some areas of France, Germany, Bulgaria, and the United Kingdom. Subsequently, significant rapeseed areas were replanted with barley, corn, and sunflower.In summer 2019, drought and extremely high temperatures hit most of the major rapeseed producing regions in central and northern Europe which affected rapeseed development in podfill stage.

Related article:  Farmers consider a world without glyphosate—and it's less than ideal

The neonicotinoids ban in the EU is one reason for the substantial decrease in rapeseed area. The ban makes rapeseed production in the European Union more difficult and more costly. The remaining insecticides are not as effective, resulting in higher insect damage despite increased frequency of pesticide application(s).

Higher costs and lower yields make rapeseed less competitive compared to other crops. For now, farmers continue planting rapeseed despite the weaker economic results since there is a lack of suitable alternatives for its role in the crop rotation.

Read full, original article: Oilseeds and Products Update -Lowest Rapeseed Crop in Over a Decade

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