EU Rapeseed Stocks to Fall by Nearly Half as Output Falters
U.S. Department of Agriculture foreign staff forecast that EU rapeseed stocks will fall by nearly half in 2015/16 to 1.3 million tons – their lowest level in eight years. The decline reflects a decline in area sown by farmers, which is projected to cut production by 11.6% to 21.3 million tons as farmers react to EU policy changes.
The USDA report indicates that the EU reduction in biofuel targets has signaled to farmers that rapeseed demand and prices, along with that for other vegetable oils, will fall this coming season, while EU subsidy program changes have encouraged farmers to switch to alternative crops. In addition, the controversial ban on neonicotinoid insecticides has worried farmers that crops like rapeseed would be left vulnerable to pests such as the cabbage stem flea beatle, after this past mild winter has the potential to increase the chances of pest infestations.
Rapeseed supplies from outside the EU on the global market are expected to be low as well, meaning that the EU will likely not be able to rely on increased imports to alleviate the shortfall in production. The USDA is currently projecting EU rapeseed imports for next season remaining level with this season at 2.6 million tons.