Crop Explorer - Commodity Intelligence Reports - Europe

Commodity Intelligence Reports - Europe

Oct 23 2019 | Mixed Harvest Results for 2019/20 European Union Crops
Weather conditions throughout Europe were less than ideal during the 2019/20 crop season. Early expectations for wheat, barley and rapeseed were high but during June, EU winter crops suffered from drought in Spain and central Europe (See Figure 1). The regional drought in central Europe reduced yield potential below early expectations for both wheat and rapeseed. In addition, extremely high temperatures across much of Europe in June ended further growth and kernel development (See Figure 2). Winter barley did well, as its growth had mostly been completed before temperatures reached damaging levels; barley finished its most sensitive vegetative periods prior to the spring drought. During mid-to-late July, staff from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) traveled in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic to observe crop conditions and meet with agricultural experts about issues facing cereal and oilseed producers. Observations and discussions revealed the effects of a difficult season for both rapeseed and wheat. This report will further discuss 2019’s weather effect on Europe’s winter crops (rapeseed and wheat) and summer crops (corn, sunflower, and soybeans). Barley is both a winter and summer crop in Europe.

Sep 4 2018 | France: Heavy Spring Rains and Summer Drought Negatively Affect 2018/19 Crops
Excessive spring rains (Figure 1) and summer drought (Figure 2), have greatly affected French agriculture during 2018. France is the European Union’s (EU) agricultural powerhouse, the leading producer of both wheat (Figure 3) and rapeseed (Figure 4), and usually the largest corn producer (Figure 5) as well. This year, however, Romania exceeded France’s corn production. For the 2018/19 season, agriculture in northern Europe has struggled with poor weather, and crop production estimates were lowered throughout the region because of the unfavorable conditions. The most damaging weather has been drought, stretching from Belgium to Estonia (Figure 6). Germany, the EU’s second-largest producer of wheat and rapeseed, was severely impacted (Figure 7). Satellite-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Indices (NDVI) show the decline in vegetation health in Germany dipping below average, starting in early June and lasting all summer (Figure 8). Other large reductions this season include, but are not limited to, Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Belgium (Figure 9). In France the drought was not as prolonged as in Germany, but France’s misfortunes began with excessive rain during spring. Analysts from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), including FAS staff from Paris conducted crop-assessment travel in northern France at the end of June, 2018.

Mar 26 2018 | European Union: Favorable Conditions for 2018/19 Crops but Rainfall Dampens Prospects
Conditions in the European Union are generally favorable for 2018/19 crops planted in autumn 2017; however, rainfall was excessive in some locations, especially in areas of the northern wheat and rapeseed belt. (See figures 1, above, 2 and 3, attached) This area includes crops in Poland, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Baltics and Scandinavia, which experienced heavy autumn and winter rains. The resulting disruptions in fieldwork extended the autumn 2017 harvest, which delayed fall plantings for 2017/18 crops in central and eastern Europe. To offset the reduction in lost winter area, some of the waterlogged fields will be replanted with spring crops, primarily corn, barley, and sunflower. Conditions in France, Germany, the United Kingdom (UK), and Poland drive overall EU wheat and rapeseed production as these are the four largest wheat and rapeseed producers, accounting for approximately 65 percent of the wheat and 76 percent of the rapeseed production. The vast majority of the EU’s wheat and rapeseed crop is autumn sown. (See figures 4 and 5.) Crops have now broken dormancy in France, the UK, Germany, and the Balkans and are losing winter hardiness elsewhere.

Aug 18 2017 | Crop Production in Greece and Italy
Italy and Greece are distinctive and unusual within the European Union (EU) because they both share a Mediterranean climate which enables production of a variety of crops not possible further north on the continent. Greece produces nearly 80 percent of the EU’s cotton and 9 percent of its rice. Italy produces over 50 percent of the EU’s rice and 45 percent of its soybeans. For other commodities, Italy is typically the EU’s fourth-largest corn producer and the fifth- largest wheat producer, including a significant amount of durum wheat for pasta. Greece also produces corn and wheat, but less than in Italy. Both countries have a hot and dry climate so dependence on irrigation is substantial during summer months. In June 2017, analysts from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service traveled to Greece and Italy to assess and examine crop conditions and conduct interviews with farmers and agricultural specialists. The team traveled along the agriculturally intensive Po River Valley of northern Italy and through several primary agricultural regions of Greece.

Dec 13 2016 | Bulgaria: Wheat Harvest Sets Record; Drought Reduces Yield Prospects for Corn
2016/17 Winter Crop Conditions: Record Wheat and Rapeseed Bulgaria’s main winter crops, wheat and rapeseed, benefited from plentiful spring rainfall and mild temperatures, and farmers reported high yields for both crops. Quality was also reported to be high. Dryness during the mid-summer enabled the harvest to progress rapidly.

Nov 30 2016 | Serbia: Record Wheat and Near-Record Corn Production
Predominantly favorable weather during 2016 in non-EU member natio Serbia enabled record wheat andnear-record corn yields to be achieved. The 2016 weather was without damaging heat or prolonged dryness but temperatures during April and May were unusually cool and rainfall was excessive in the major crop areas in June. The cool and wet spring delayed the development of summer crops. delayed the development of summer crops.

Sep 2 2015 | United Kingdom: Crop Production Report
Crop Production USDA estimates 2015/16 United Kingdom (UK) wheat at 15.3 million metric tons (figure 1); barley at 6.8 million tons, oats at 0.7 million tons. The only significantly produced oilseed in the UK is rapeseed, with 2015/16 production estimated at 2.2 million tons (figure 2). The UK is the third largest wheat producer in the European Union (EU) (figure 3) and the fourth largest in rapeseed output (figure 4). The UK’s five-year average wheat yield of 7.61 tons/hectare (T/Ha) is among the EU’s highest. The most significant grain crops in the UK are wheat, barley, and oats. For the UK or other EU member-state area and production totals, please download the EU Countries Area & Production file at: https://apps.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/psdDownload.aspx

Feb 13 2015 | EU 2015/16 Winter Crops in Good Shape Despite Some Regional Weather Issues
Development of autumn sown grains and oilseeds were assisted by warm fall temperatures and a mild start to winter. Most areas in Europe also received above-average precipitation during this time, benefitting plant emergence and development. These weather conditions created a rapid and extended period of early growth for winter crops, with reports indicating that crops had an extra two to three weeks of development compared to normal. The satellite image above shows European vegetation prior to dormancy as being much more robust than is typical.

Mar 12 2014 | Europe: Mild Winter Advances Crop Stage Excessive Rain in West Creates Field Challenges
Mild over-winter conditions have kept crops in the 28-member European Union (EU) in good condition since planting last autumn. Almost all winter long, temperatures have remained much above-average. A continuous lack of snowcover has created lingering fears of potential winterkill damage; however, temperatures have remained anomalously warm, minimalizing any winterkill issues to date.

Jul 29 2013 | Favorable Crop Prospects in Poland and Lithuania
Polish wheat production for 2013/14 is up slightly from last year. Poland is the fourth largest wheat producer in the European Union (EU). Polish corn production is down from last year’s record but is still expected to be a bumper crop. Cold temperatures and rainy conditions in spring delayed crop growth, however large crop losses due to winterkill were not repeated this season. Lithuania wheat production is down from last year’s record production. As of late July, winter barley harvesting is now underway in Poland and wheat production should begin in August.

Sep 27 2012 | Crop Travel Assessed Deteriorated Summer Crop Conditions in Southeast Europe
A team from the Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) conducted crop travel in Romania and Bulgaria during the first half of August 2012. The group met with various experts from the government and private industry; Visited numerous fields and talked to many farmers to better understand current conditions and to improve yield forecasting abilities. Crop travel included areas of eastern, central, western, and southern Romania as well as north-eastern and north-central Bulgaria.

Feb 10 2012 | Deep Freeze in Europe; Damage Feared
European wheat and rapeseed may have been damaged by the recent low temperatures which occurred with little to no protective snowcover. Wheat and rapeseed in western Poland and eastern Germany are most vulnerable to potential winterkill. Extremely cold temperatures began to engulf the European continent beginning around the 30th of January. In many crop-growing regions, temperatures dropped below critical values for winterkill damage. The cold air mass started in the east over Poland and Romania and pushed into France, moderating as it tracked west. Below normal temperatures are expected to continue in the near future. It is possible that areas of widespread damage could have occurred in areas of the European wheat and rapeseed belt, but it is hard to ascertain damage at this point.

Dec 22 2010 | Global Durum Output Falls in 2010/11 Marketing Year
World durum production for the 2010/11 marketing year is estimated at 3.0 million metric tons, 12 percent lower than 2009/10, largely because of a decline in Canada. A lower price forecast and difficult planting conditions reduced planting conditions. Output in North Africa was lower than the previous year following a bumper crop in 2009/10. European Union production is estimated down nearly 2 percent with increases in France and Italy more than offset by declines in Spain and Greece. Production in the United States is also estimated down nearly 2 percent on reduced yield. Conditions for the Middle East were generally favorable, where durum wheat varieties showed greater tolerance to a yellow rust epidemic than did bread wheat varieties.

Jul 29 2010 | Spain's 2010/11 Grain Crop Is Higher Than Last Year's Drought-Afflicted Crop
A severe drought in 2009 created planting and emergence problems for the 2010/11 Spanish winter grains crop, and drastically lowered yields for the established 2009/10 crop. Rainfall was far below average from late February until December 2009, resulting in reduced soil moisture and limited irrigation opportunities as reservoir levels fell. Farmers began the 2010/11 planting campaign struggling with the on-going drought. Relief did not arrive until December 2009 when widespread, heavy rains fell across the country. These recurrent, heavy rains lasted until March 2010, with the highest totals occurring in southern Spain, particularly in the region of Andalucia. Flooded fields and pools of standing water prevented plant growth. Fertilizers and other applications were either not applied, were diluted, or were washed away. Fieldwork was nearly impossible, forcing many farmers to sow later in the season and after the optimal planting dates.

Dec 16 2009 | Global Durum Output Higher for Second Consecutive Year
World production of durum has increased for the second consecutive year estimated at 31.9 million tons for 2009/10, up 2.3 million tons from 2008/09 and up 5.7 million tons from 2007/08. This figure, however, is still below the record output reached in 2004/05 at 33.3 million tons.

Nov 3 2009 | Late Summer Crop Travel to Central and Southeast Europe
Agricultural specialists from the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) traveled through several central and southeastern European countries during late August and early September to assess 2009 crop conditions. The main crops in this region include wheat, barley, corn, rapeseed, and sunflowerseed. The trip included visits to the European Union countries of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania, as well as non-EU member Serbia.

Feb 2 2009 | Wheat Production Situation January 2009
In September of 2008 FOB Gulf prices for wheat were down slightly from prices in 2007, while prices for soybeans and corn were much higher, indicating the incentives to plant wheat for the 2009/10 crop have diminished compared to a year ago. Additionally, many market watchers have been reporting high input prices and lower availability of credit. With continuing low stock levels and fairly high prices compared to previous years, there are still incentives for Northern Hemisphere farmers to produce wheat, although they are less compelling than a year ago.

Aug 29 2008 | July Crop Travel in Poland Revealed Good Conditions for Autumn Sown Crops
During early July members of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) traveled through Poland meeting with various agriculture industry professionals, and toured farms, and assessed crop conditions. This report is a summary of the trip, including observations and photographs, and estimates from USDA's August World Agriculture Supply and Demand release.

Jun 13 2008 | Favorable Soil Moisture Brings Encouraging Early Prospects For European Corn
After one of the worst droughts in recent years, the corn crop in southeastern Europe is expected to rebound sharply in 2008/09. Corn planting in Europe has finished and plants are emerged with 4 - 8 leaves (Hanway Growth Stage Model). The crop has experienced favorable conditions throughout Europe because of average to above-average rainfall and mild spring temperatures.

May 24 2007 | Spring Dryness and Freeze Lowers Europe's 2007/08 Winter Crop Prospects
An unusual combination of winter and spring weather events are shaping prospects for Europe's 2007/08 winter crops. The most important weather factors influencing this year's production include very warm winter and spring temperatures which have accelerated plant growth. Additionally, widespread spring dryness developed over much of Europe, stressing crops. Meanwhile, a hard freeze occurred in north-central Europe, possibly damaging already weakened vegetation. Finally, rain returned to the dry areas of the continent - both in northern Europe and in the Balkans during mid-May, aiding yield recovery.

Oct 26 2006 | Bulgaria: 2006/07 Crop Update
Bulgaria's 2006/07 sunflower crop is estimated to reach both record production and record area, while corn production is estimated to be down slightly from last year. Both of these spring-sown crops saw mixed results because of variable summer weather. Harvested winter wheat and winter barley are estimated to be at or below last year?s production level because of winterkill and spring flooding.

Oct 13 2006 | Hungary: Winter Crop Production Drops after Two Consecutive Bumper Harvests
Hungary's 2006/07 grain output is estimated by USDA to be lower than both the 2004/05 record and the 2005/06 bumper harvests. Detrimental winter and early spring weather lowered yields of autumn-sown crops but the principle summer crops of corn and sunflowerseed are expected to have done well, with sunflowerseed estimated at record production this season. Weather was nearly ideal in September and by the beginning of October about 65 percent of sunflowerseed crop had been harvested and 6-7 percent of the corn crop had been harvested.

Sep 27 2006 | France: Winter Crop Yields Fell During the Season
Winter crop yields in France have fallen during the course of the growing season. High expectations were lowered by a long winter, a short spring, and a very hot, early summer. These events stressed crops, reduced the size and weight of their grain and seeds, and lowered yield. Crop travel in the corn region of southwest France revealed good yields, but lower planted area.

Jun 21 2006 | Biodiesel Demand Continues Pushing Rapeseed Area Up In The EU
The total European Union (EU) 2006/07 rapeseed production is forecast at 15.3 million tons, similar (within 0.1 million tons) to each of the last two year's production levels. Area, however, continues increasing each year due to the burgeoning demand for biodiesel within the EU. The 2006/07 harvested area is estimated at 5.0 million hectares, up 0.5 million hectares in two years. Yield is expected to fall to 3.09 tons per hectare, down from 3.26 tons per hectare last year and 3.41 tons per hectare in the record 2004/05 year.

Mar 31 2006 | Europe Winter Weather Highlights
Autumn-planted crops are expected to have over-wintered well in Europe. While some questions remain about the effects from a colder than normal winter, initial analysis suggests that the vast majority of winter crops, especially hardy winter wheat, should have survived without damage from the cold and sometimes bitter cold that infiltrated eastern and central areas of the continent.

Jan 19 2006 | Europe: 2006/07 Winter Crop Conditions
Overall, the 2006/07 winter crops in Europe were successfully planted under good conditions. The late planting is the result of a rain-delayed summer harvest. Some areas of eastern Europe planted grains after the optimal planting window, increasing risk potential. A mild fall throughout the continent helped accelerate sowings and plant emergence, and in some cases resulted in an over-development of the new crop.

Oct 26 2005 | Europe: Autumn Update
Weather during October has been largely beneficial for agriculture in Europe. It provided rain to the most precipitation deprived countries, including Spain, Portugal, and southwest France. It has also brought relief in the form of dryness to many formerly soaked countries of central and eastern Europe. Mild temperatures have aided farmers in these same eastern countries by accelerating the drying of their crops and fields. The favorable weather has allowed the late harvest to resume and the autumn planting to continue for most countries. However, the rains continue to thwart field activities in much of Romania and Bulgaria.

Sep 22 2005 | Europe: Rain delayed wheat harvesting, lowered crop quality in central Europe; Corn and sunflower conditions are good, but a dry fall is needed for harvest
During July and August, wheat harvesting was frequently delayed in central and eastern Europe because of reoccurring bouts of heavy rain. The most problematic area was concentrated in the Balkan countries of Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. These countries had twice their normal monthly rainfall amounts during both July and August.

Jul 19 2005 | 2005/06 European Union Grain Outlook
USDA's July estimate of the 2005/06 European Union (EU) wheat crop is 127.8 million tons, up 1.1 million tons from last month, but 6.5 percent below last year's record crop. Harvested area is estimated at 22.8 million hectares, down 2 percent from last season and unchanged from last month. Yield is forecast at 5.62 tons/ha, 5 percent above the five-year average, but below last year's record 5.88 tons/ha.

Apr 12 2000 | Recent Rains Improve Crop Prospects in Spain and Portugal
Spain and Portugal are expected to plant more area to winter grains in 2000/01 than 1999/2000 due to changes in the European Unions Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and to nearly ideal seeding conditions. However, the 1999 - 2000 winter was very dry and the Iberian peninsula appeared to be facing a second year of drought. Rainfall during the end of March and beginning of April has greatly improved winter grain prospects, but average rainfall during April and May will still be necessary in order to ensure a good winter crop. Low reservoir levels will likely dampen this years spring crop planting.

Jul 18 2000 | Bumper wheat crop in Spain and Portugal
Spain and Portugal overcame poor winter conditions to arrive at a bumper wheat harvest. Spain's expected wheat harvest is up 40 percent from last year, and up 1 million tons from estimates earlier in the season. Portugal's expected harvest is up 30 percent from last year and up 65,000 tons from earlier in the season. Farmers were concerned about dry conditions and unusually high temperatures over the winter, but timely rainfall in the spring saved the crop from serious damage. Plentiful rain boosted yields over the rest of the growing season. The Iberian Peninsula has now had so much rainfall that farmers are worrying about wheat quality.

Oct 19 2000 | Flooding in Italy's Po Valley
Heavy rains hit northern Italy causing floods in the agriculturally rich Po Valley as the harvest of summer crops was well under way (see rainfall map for Oct 8-16, 2000 and Oct 8-16, 1999). Mild precipitation covered a large part of northern Italy Wednesday and Thursday, October 11 and 12, moistening the top soil so that the ground was quickly saturated when heavy rainfall began Saturday October 14. Rains were continuing in the region as of Tuesday October 17. Worst hit was the prime rice producing area in the Piedmont area of the western Po Valley. The corn harvest is also expected to be delayed by the heavy precipitation, and some grain storage facilities have reportedly been flooded. Soybeans generally are grown towards the east end of the valley and are not thought to be seriously affected. Though it is still too early to get a full assessment of the damage, corn, rice, and soybeans tend to be tolerant of heavy rain at harvest if farmers can get back to the fields within a reasonable period of time.

Sep 16 2001 | Field Travel Reveals Excellent Summer Crop Prospects in Hungary, Croatia, and Bosnia
USDA/FAS staff from Washington, the agriculture attaché in Vienna, and the agricultural specialist from FAS/Budapest traveled through Bosnia, Croatia, and Hungary assessing crop conditions at the end of August. The team saw good crops of corn and sunflowerseed in Hungary, Croatia, and Bosnia. This is an improvement compared to last season, when much of the region struggled with a severe drought.

Oct 25 2001 | EU Likely Remains in Compliance With Oilseed Production Limits
It is likely that the European Union did not exceed Blair House Agreement limits for the production of oilseeds in 2001/02; just as the EU did not exceed those limits in 2000/01. Agenda 2000 changes to the EUs Common Agricultural Policy are reducing oilseed support levels thus reducing incentives to plant oilseeds.

Dec 11 2001 | EU Rapeseed Area
Early indications are that EU rapeseed planting levels in 2002/03 may be higher than in 2001/02, despite reduced area aid payments, and a short-term declining trend. Other factors, namely increased demand for rapeseed for food use, increased demand for bio-fuels, and lower world supplies, likely encouraged farmers to plant more rapeseed this fall.

Jan 28 2002 | Dry Conditions Threaten Po Valley Prospects
Precipitation in the Po River Valley in northern Italy has been below normal for the past several months. The map below shows the percent normal cumulative precipitation from November 1, 2001 to January 20, 2002, illustrating the current deficit in the northern and central regions of the country. Italy is the European Union's largest producer of soybeans and rice, and the second largest producer of corn. These crops are produced primarily in the Po River Valley, a majority of which is irrigated. However, if the dry weather continues into March, poor planting conditions could result, and reservoir levels for the upcoming summer growing season would be reduced. Click on the Po River Valley region of the map to view a graph of cumulative rainfall since November 1, 2001.

Apr 18 2002 | Recent Rainfall in Po River Valley Improves Soil Moisture
The graphic below illustrates the widespread rainfall that fell in the Po River Valley from April 1st through the 16th. This timely rainfall boosted soil moisture levels from previously low levels. Click on the following links to view graphs of soil moisture, precipitation events, and cumulative precipitation since January 1, 2002. The recent rainfall has most likely slowed field work for the current season, but the improved soil moisture will create favorable conditions for seeds once they are in the ground. Italy is the EU's largest producer of soybeans and rice, and the second largest producer of corn. These crops are produced primarily in the irrigated Po River Valley.

Apr 18 2002 | Wet Weather in Greece Delays Cotton Planting
Unusually wet weather began March 1 and continues to linger in the central portion of the Macedonia region of Greece. Click on the upper part of the image to view a graph of precipitation events since March 1st. Cotton is usually planted in that part of Greece this time of year, but rain and cool temperatures have kept farmers out of the fields. The cotton in Greece is 100-percent irrigated, and rain this time of year is not welcome. Greece is the EU's largest producer of cotton, with 410,000 hectares harvested in 2001. Major cotton growing regions in Greece are shown on the map below.

May 14 2002 | Spanish Barley and Soft Wheat Output Could Be Better Than 2001
Spring weather conditions have been generally favorable for wheat and barley production in the two major growing regions in Spain, Castilla y Leon and Castilla-La Mancha, situated on the "Meseta," or "table region" of Spain. This plateau is at an elevation of over 500 meters above sea level . Nearly two-thirds of the barley and soft wheat in Spain are grown on the Meseta, and the crops are susceptible to extreme weather in the winter and spring months. This year, the crops fared well through the winter, and spring weather has generally been better than last year's. In 2000, Spanish barley production was nearly 11.3 million tons, but last year it fell to less than 6.3 million, due to minimal precipitation and high temperatures during late spring. Click on a region below to view a link to comparisons of precipitation and average temperatures for Castilla y Leon and Castilla-La Mancha in 2001 and thus far in 2002. Click on the following link to see a Landsat7 image of the Duero Valley (50 km east of Valladolid) in Castilla y Leon, acquired on April 29, 2002.

Jul 1 2002 | Italy: Po River Valley Crop Update
Crop growth has been substantial this month in the major corn and soybean producing region of Italy, the Po River Valley. Most of the Po River Valley is irrigated, and the corn and soybean harvest will take place between September and November. Precipitation was abundant throughout the spring, and the recent warm, dry weather has been favorable. Observations of fields near Palazzolo Sull'Oglio (image 1) and Ostiglia (image 2) in the Lombardia region show that crops have made significant growth progress recently. Based on the Hanway Growth Model, corn is likely in the eight to twelve leaf stage, and growing rapidly.

Jul 22 2002 | A Production Perspective on Rye
Rye production in the European Union is well in excess of demand, with unused product piling up in ever increasing stocks (see figure 1). Germany is currently the largest producer. The Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) has helped maintain Germanys level of rye production over time while consumption has decreased (figure 2). Germany produces some 2 million metric tons of surplus rye annually that is either stored in government (intervention) facilities or exported to countries such as South Korea, Japan, and China.

Jul 30 2002 | Prices, Demand, Biodiesel Raise German Rapeseed Output
German rapeseed production is estimated to increase in 2002/03 from last year despite Agenda 2000 reforms that are reducing support for the crop. Production of rapeseed is estimated at 4.5 million tons (see table) for 2002/03, up 8 percent from last year. The increase year-to-year is somewhat of a surprise, because compensation payments were reduced for oilseeds in the European Union this year in line with Agenda 2000 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms. When crops are harvested this season, it will be the first year that oilseed payments are fully aligned with grain payments. Oilseed payments were reduced this year while grain payments were increased.

Oct 3 2002 | Italy: Near-Normal Conditions in the Po River Valley
A recent crop tour, September 22-24, 2002, by FAS personnel revealed that corn and soybean conditions in the Po River Valley of northern Italy are near normal. Corn production is estimated at 10.5 million tons, which is slightly more than last year, mostly due to improvements in yield. Italy is the second largest producer of corn in the European Union, after France. Soybean production is estimated to be 0.7 million tons, a reduction of nearly 0.2 million from last year because of a decrease in area. Italy is the largest producer of soybeans in the European Union, accounting for over two-thirds of all soybeans produced. This was the first growing season that grain and oilseed support payments have been harmonized, removing the incentive to plant soybeans.

Nov 20 2002 | Germany: Rapeseed Production Insufficient for Expanding Biodiesel Industry
Germany will not have the ability to provide enough domestically produced rapeseed to supply its expanding biodiesel industry. Increases in oilseed or vegetable oil imports, and/or corresponding decreases in exports will be needed. A report released by the U.S. Agricultural Minister Counselor in Berlin (FAS) (pdf) (Word Perfect) in October provided an overview of the biodiesel industry. The industry is for the most part focused on producing just one kind of biodiesel, rapeseed methyl ester, which can be produced from the oil of domestically produced rapeseed. The report concluded that biodiesel is not competitive with petrodiesel on its own, but is being made competitive with a tax exemption on motor fuels. Producing biodiesel is expensive, ¬around 530 ¬ (euros) per 1000 liters. Producing petrodiesel costs much less, about 225 ¬ per 1000 liters. German mineral oil and ecological taxes amount to 439.7 ¬ per 1000 liters, and result in a cost of 665 ¬ per 1000 liters for petrodiesel before distribution and marketing Biodiesel is exempt from these two taxes in Germany. A 16-percent value added tax is added at the retail level for both petro and biodiesel.

Nov 22 2002 | EU-15: Grain Area, Yield, and Production Tables
Favorable planting conditions during autumn of 2001 set the stage for above average production from most EU member states. Total harvested area for the five main cereal crops listed below increased by roughly 800,000 hectares, with decreases in barley, corn, and rye more than offset by increases of oats and wheat. Germany was the only major producing country to experience a decrease in yields from last year, due to excessive rainfall during a critical period. Maps of year-to-year changes illustrate the trends in the rest of the European Union.

Jan 13 2003 | EU Enlargement: Eastern Germany Crop Yield Increases Herald Changes in Central Europe
Crop yields in the central and eastern European countries have historically lagged behind their western counterparts for a number of reasons. However, if the changes that have taken place in eastern Germany over the last decade are an indication of what can be expected, then western and central European yields will converge over time

Jan 14 2003 | EU Enlargement: Polish Farm Consolidation Quickens as EU Accession Approaches.
Rising farm consolidation in Poland could mean greater efficiency and more production under EU accession. The effect of EU accession on Polish farm production will generally be positive in terms of rising output. However, there are major structural and market technical obstacles that will slow Polands production expansion vis-à-vis other East European countries joining the European Union.

May 13 2003 | EU-15: 2003 Grain Forecast by Country
European Union (EU-15) wheat production is forecast to be 101.0 million tons in 2003, a 2.3 million, or 2 percent decrease from 103.3 million tons in 2002. Total coarse grain production (barley, corn, mixed grain, oats, rye, and sorghum) is forecast to be 107.0 million tons, a less than 1 percent increase from 106.1 million last year. Wheat area decreased slightly, and coarse grain area is nearly unchanged.

Jun 19 2003 | Germany: Field Travel Reveals Conditions and Trends
In its official release on June 11, USDA forecast wheat yields in Germany to be higher than last year, although still below the 5-year average of 7.4 tons per hectare. The wheat crop is now in the critical period that will determine final yields. Last year, heat spikes halted plant growth, and reduced the wheat yield forecast by nearly one ton per hectare (a total of 2.7 million tons) in just a two month period. There have been temperature spikes again in 2003, although plants will probably fare better than last year because a spring dry period forced them to develop extensive root systems for scavenging water. In addition, many places had good rainfall before the heat started, and frequent thunderstorms have provided timely moisture. Wheat is expected to be harvested in August.

Jul 14 2003 | EU-15: 2003 Oilseed and Rice Forecast by Country
European Union (EU-15) rapeseed production is forecast to be 9.0 million tons in 2003, down from from 9.3 million tons last year. Area in France and the United Kingdom is expected to increase from 2002, while area in Germany remains nearly unchanged, resulting in a year-to-year increase of 150,000 hectares. Rapeseed yield is expected to be above the five-year average in the United Kingdom, but below average in France and Germany. Sunflowerseed production is forecast to be higher than 2002 because of an area increase, and higher yields are predicted to boost 2003 soybean production. Cottonseed production is forecast to remain nearly unchanged.

Aug 13 2003 | EU-15: 2003 Grain Forecast by Country
FAS/Washington estimates 2003/04 EU-15 wheat production at 94.5 million tons, a decrease of 5.0 million tons from last month, and 9 percent below last year's crop. Harvested area is estimated at 17.2 million hectares, unchanged from last month, and 3 percent below last year's level. The yield for this year's crop is estimated to be 5.49 tons per hectare, substantially lower than last year's level of 5.84 tons per hectare. Winter crop planting conditions were generally favorable in western Europe last autumn, with the exception of excessive moisture in southern Germany. Winter and spring moisture levels in Spain were extremely favorable, and growing conditions were near normal in Italy and the United Kingdom. March and April were unusually dry in France and Germany. Abnormally high temperatures throughout the month of June damaged dry, vulnerable fields in northeastern Europe.

Sep 20 2003 | EU: Biodiesel Industry Expanding Use of Oilseeds
Biodiesel production in Europe is growing, and is becoming an important part of the European market for rapeseed. Annual biodiesel output is now over a million tons per year and requires the input of an estimated 2.7 million tons of oilseed. Biodiesel is not cost competitive with petroleum diesel without subsidies or tax incentives except in cases where petroleum prices are high in the extreme and vegetable oil prices are low. Biodiesel has a major advantage over petroleum diesel in that it is derived from renewable sources; thus, on a net basis, fewer greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are emitted into the atmosphere. The political support for the production and consumption of biodiesel and renewable fuels appears to be present to expand the biodiesel industry.

Oct 1 2003 | EU-15: Cotton Production Summary
USDA's September 10 estimate of 2003/04 EU-15 cotton production was 2.1 million 480-lb. bales, a decrease of 40,000 bales or 2 percent from August, and 3 percent below last year's crop. Harvested area is estimated at 451,000 hectares, unchanged from August, and nearly unchanged from last year's level. The lint yield for this year's crop is estimated to be 1,010 kilograms per hectare, slightly lower than last year, and below the 5-year average of 1,050 kilograms. World production this year is forecast to be 93.4 million bales.

Nov 4 2003 | Rapeseed Production May Benefit from New EU Directive
The European Unions Council of Ministers took an important though expected step in the development of the EU biodiesel industry. The EU Council on October 27 adopted new rules allowing, but not mandating member countries to detax fuels from renewable sources. (Detaxation is a term used in the European Union to signify a reduced level of taxation, in this case compared to petroleum based fuel.) The development of the biodiesel industry in Europe is an important reason why rapeseed production in Europe has been maintained at current levels despite the reduced support levels for oilseeds under Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms. EU biodiesel production has risen from nearly insignificant levels a dozen years ago to an estimated 1.07 million tons in 2002. This level of production requires the input of an estimated 2.7 million tons of oilseed compared to a current EU total oilseed production level of 13.1 million tons. Member state producers will likely increase rapeseed plantings over time as member states adopt programs to increase biofuel usage to meet target levels, and the biodiesel industry expands to take advantage of those programs. Member state producers are producing virtually all the oilseeds allowable under the WTO on set-aside land. Therefore, further production expansion for biodiesel use will need to be put on food-use area, under the existing WTO agreement.

Nov 14 2003 | EU-15: 2003 Grain Forecast by Country
FAS/Washington estimates 2003/04 EU-15 wheat production at 92.0 million tons, 11 percent below last year's revised crop. Harvested area is estimated at 17.1 million hectares, 5 percent below last year's level. The yield for this year's crop is estimated to be 5.38 tons per hectare, substantially lower than last year's level of 5.77 tons per hectare. Estimates from the 2001/02 and 2002/03 crop years were revised this month, using a variety of sources.

Dec 1 2003 | Poland: Basic Agriculture
Earlier this year, a group from USDAs Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) traveled through Poland to assess the countrys 2003/04 crop and the situation and attitudes of Polish as EU accession nears. Several central European nations, including Poland, are well into the last year before formal integration into the European Union on May 1, 2004. The following report is based largely on observation during field travel and interviews conducted with various Polish agribusiness representatives while in Poland. Additional analysis from the Production Estimates and Crop Assessment Division (PECAD) is also included in the report.

Jan 15 2004 | EU-15: 2003/04 Oilseed and Cotton Estimates by Country
European Union (EU-15) rapeseed production is estimated to be 9.46 million tons in 2003/04, up from 9.29 million last year. Rapeseed area in France and the United Kingdom (UK) increased from 2002/03, but decreased slightly in Germany, resulting in a net year-to-year EU-15 increase of 0.12 million hectares. The EU-15 rapeseed yield was slightly below the five year average--above average in the UK, average in France and below average in Germany. Sunflowerseed production is estimated to be 2.54 million tons, nearly 0.22 million lower than 2002/03, despite an area increase of 0.10 million hectares. Soybean area was roughly unchanged from last year, but below average yields reduced production to 0.66 million tons, the lowest level since the European Union became a 15-member club in 1995. Hot, dry weather damaged sunflower and soybean fields that were not irrigated. Cottonseed production is estimated to be 0.62 million tons, a decrease of 0.04 from last year, because of reduced area and yield. Estimates from the 2001/02 and 2002/03 crop years were revised this month, based on a variety of sources.

Feb 11 2004 | EU-15: 2003/04 Wheat, Coarse Grain and Rice Estimates by Country
FAS/Washington estimates 2003/04 European Union (EU-15) wheat production at 90.7 million tons, 8 percent below last year's revised crop of 103.9 million. Harvested area is estimated at 17.0 million hectares, 13 percent below last year's level of 18.0 million. The yield for this year's crop is estimated to be 5.35 tons per hectare, substantially lower than last year's yield of 5.79 tons per hectare. Estimates from the 2001/02 and 2002/03 crop years were revised this month, based on a variety of sources.

May 24 2004 | EU-25: 2004/05 Wheat, Coarse Grains,
USDA estimates 2004/05 European Union (EU-25) wheat production at a record 126.5 million tons, 19.9 million or 19 percent above last year's crop. Harvested area is estimated at 23.2 million hectares, 1.3 million or 6 percent more than 2003/04. The yield for this year's crop is estimated to be 5.45 tons per hectare, substantially above last year's level of 4.87 tons per hectare.

Jun 16 2004 | EU-25: 2004/05 Oilseed and Cotton Estimates by Country
USDA estimates 2004/05 European Union (EU-25) rapeseed production at 12.6 million tons, 1.6 million or 15 percent above last year's crop. Harvested area is estimated at 4.4 million hectares, 0.31 million or 8 percent more than 2003/04. The yield for this year's crop is estimated to be 2.86 tons per hectare, substantially above last year's level of 2.69 tons per hectare. The yield outlook for rapeseed in western Europe (formerly EU-15) is good to very good, although winter rapeseed planting conditions were not ideal last fall. Winter rapeseed has a narrow planting window--roughly the last weeks of August and the first weeks of September. There were reports of some dryness in Germany, and reports of more serious dryness and emergence problems in the United Kingdom (UK). There was virtually no winterkill this year, compared to 2003/04 when the area may have been reduced by as much as 5 percent in France and Germany.

Oct 15 2004 | EU-25: Crop Travel Verifies
As a whole, weather in the expanded European Union was extremely favorable during the entire 2004/05 growing season. Beneficial weather created bumper crops for both autumn- and spring-planted grains and oilseeds. Planting conditions in the fall of 2003 were mostly favorable, with some reports of dryness in Germany, the United Kingdom (UK), Poland, and the Czech Republic. Winter moisture was adequate, with the possible exception of deficits recorded in northern France. Winter temperatures were moderate, and lingering snow cover in the colder, eastern countries insulated plants from potential freeze damage. The EU experienced normal spring and summer temperatures, and adequate to above-average precipitation levels. Spring rains were conducive to emerging spring wheat and tillering winter wheat; summer rains and mild temperatures contributed to raising yields. A few adverse weather events did occur, including early summer dryness in France, and excessive summer wetness in Hungary. In addition, the harvest was disrupted or delayed by heavy rains in most northern countries, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, which resulted in widespread quality reductions. Nevertheless, total EU winter grains and rapeseed harvest has been exceptional, and record production has been achieved. Corn and sunflower yields also are expected to be very high, a direct result of abundant moisture and lack of extreme summer heat.

Nov 4 2004 | Romania and Bulgaria: Crop Travel Confirms
Romania and Bulgaria, along with most of southeast and central Europe, have experienced an excellent 2004/05 season for both the winter and summer crops. Crop travel was conducted in Romania and Bulgaria by members of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), which confirmed the favorable status of both 2004/05 winter and summer crops. In general, the two Balkan nations' agricultural production had benefited greatly from favorable weather almost all season long. Actually, favorable weather was widespread throughout Europe this year, creating bumper crops and record yields in most all countries. During USDA's late August trip, producers reported that a large winter wheat crop had already been cut from the fields, while observations showed robust summer crops in the fields.

Dec 12 2004 | EU: Winter Planting Fares Well
This year, winter grains and oilseeds planting in the European Union (EU) has progressed well. In addition, crop emergence and development has occurred under mostly beneficial weather and they should also be in good shape at the onset of winter. At the very beginning of the 2005/06 season, there has been no large-scale weather event to significantly limit yields. In several countries however, above-average, autumn precipitation slowed-down an already late summer harvest. This delay created a narrower-than-normal fall planting window. For the most part, however, farmers were able to adapt to conditions, managing to squeeze their field operations in between rain events, thereby getting their crops sown.

Mar 31 2005 | Europe: Winter Conditions Summary
Widespread precipitation finally arrived to Spain and Portugal at the end of March, providing some relief to the EU's most water-stressed, agricultural region. The rain temporarily alleviated a season-long drought, that has been on-going since planting last fall.

Jan 25 2005 | Synthetic Diesel May Play a Significant Role as Renewable Fuel in Germany
The Fischer-Tropsch process invented by German coal researchers in 1923, but brought up to date could possibly, in the next ten years, utilize one million hectares of Germany's agricultural land to produce 4 million tons of synthetic diesel fuel and replace 13 percent of Germany's current diesel use.

Feb 15 2005 | Dry Conditions Threaten 2005/06 Crops In Spain and Portugal
Spain and Portugal continue to be the exceptions in the overall, favorable-weather pattern that has existed in the European Union (EU) since planting last autumn. The normal "rainy season" failed to materialize in Spain and Portugal as stationary, high-pressure blocked approaching, rain-producing systems almost all season.


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