Strategie Grains cuts EU rapeseed crop estimate again

PARIS (Reuters) - Consultancy Strategie Grains cut its estimate for the European Union’s rapeseed harvest for the third month in a row on Monday due to lower than expected yields in major producing countries where harvesting is in full swing.

A gas pipeline marker is pictured next to a field of rapeseed near Austria's largest natural gas import and distribution in Baumgarten May 2, 2014. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

It said the EU should harvest 20.7 million tonnes of rapeseed this year, a forecast revised down by 570,000 tonnes from last month, and now nearly 6 percent below 2015.

Strategie Grains mainly cut its estimates for France, Germany and Poland due to lower yields. The cuts were only partly compensated by smaller rises in Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Lithuania.

The strongest revision was for the second-largest EU rapeseed producer France, for which the consultancy lowered its crop estimate by 410,000 tonnes to 4.7 million tonnes, down 12 percent from last year.

“Current feedbacks indicate (French) yields that are generally 10 to 20 percent below last year because of poor flowering conditions, poor grain filling and very heavy pest pressure,” Strategie Grains said in its monthly report.

The consultancy stressed, however, that rapeseed was expected to be the least affected by adverse weather conditions of all winter crops in France.

French winter wheat and barley output is expected sharply down from 2015, due mainly to torrential spring rains.

At the same time, a lack of rain in northeastern regions of the largest EU rapeseed producer Germany prompted Strategie Grains to cut its crop estimate by 160,000 tonnes, now seen stable on last year at 5.0 million tonnes.

Polish yields were disappointing with initial harvest results showing a significant drop compared with last year. The rapeseed crop was cut by 230,000 tonnes from last month and now expected at 2.2 million tonnes, down 20 percent on last year.

The cut in the expected EU rapeseed harvest prompted the analyst to raise its import forecast by 400,000 tonnes to 3.3 million tonnes, which would be more than 4 percent above 2015.

Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, editing by David Evans