A drop in EU rapeseed production in 2015 was forecast at Copa-Cogeca oilseeds working party as first results of the neonicotinoid seed treatment ban start to emerge.
Newly elected Chairman of the working party Arnaud Rousseau from France warned “The situation is problematic and it is expected to get worse, causing job losses especially in rural areas. In Finland, a big fall in the rapeseed area has been reported, forcing some farmers to stop producing and causing rapeseed crushing plants to shut down. The situation is also particularly bad in Germany – a major oilseed producer – estimating a 1 million tonne cut in rapeseed production for the 2015 harvest, compared to 2014. In Spain, another big producer, a cut in oilseed and protein crop production is foreseen together with a drop in the surface area for sunflowers but final figures still need to be confirmed. Whilst in the UK, a new study produced by the NFU predicts a 36% drop in farmers income as a result of the ban and pesticide bans. In Italy and my own country, maize producers have also been badly affected”.
He continued “The problem is no alternative tools for crop protection exist for the spring varieties and crops are being dessimated by flea beetle attacks. More and more farmers will not produce oilseeds anymore as it would be too risky if the 2 year suspension for neonicotinoid treatments becomes permanent. The issue will be a top priority for me in my two year mandate as Chairman of the Oilseeds and Protein Crop Working Party”.
Mr Rousseau is also an oilseed and protein crop producer in France and Vice-President of the French Oilseeds and Protein Crop Federation (FOP).
The EU 2014 oilseeds harvest which totaled 34.4 million tonnes and estimations in 2015 forecast to reach 32 mt. The figures are very provisional and must be treated with caution as not all member states have yet submitted final estimates. The cut is expected to be much worse.