EU protein crop estimates seen as “good news” for livestock sector

EU crop estimates for 2016 show a 5.7% increase in protein crop production, driven by a significant rise in the EU-28’s commitment to beans.

“This is welcome news for the EU livestock sector,” said the chairman of Copa and Cogeca’s oilseeds working party, Arnaud Rousseau, commenting on the organisation’s release of crop forecasts for this year.

While the overall protein crop estimate is for a 5.7% rise in production in 2016, taking account of peas, beans and sweet lupins, the big change this year is in bean production which shows an 11.1% rise in planted area, compared to 2015, and a 14.8% rise in estimated production.

The EU-28 pea crop, meanwhile, despite showing a 0.6% rise in planted area, is forecast to be heading for a 1.5% reduction in production, year-on-year.

The sweet lupins area is up 4.5% on planted area and up 5.4% on estimated production.

The protein crop figures contrast with Copa & Cogeca’s EU-28 forecasts for soft wheat and oilseeds production which are down this year, with the organisation commenting that this is mainly as result of bad weather, as well as increasing pests and diseases.

“Latest forecasts show that EU soft wheat is down 3.5% this year and yields are lower, mainly as a result of poor weather conditions ranging from drought to excess rain in central Europe,” said Copa & Cogeca’s cereals working party chairman, Max Schulman.

“Total EU-28 cereals production is up slightly by 1.3% compared to last year but the situation for soft wheat and barley is likely to worsen and the figures will probably be revised downwards. There is also huge uncertainty surrounding the maize forecasts as the season started late and there was lack of sun.”

Mr Schulman also said that many countries have faced big problems with pests and diseases.

“It is becoming more difficult to fight them as they become more resistant to crop protection products,” he said. “There is a real lack of effective crop protection products and a consistent tool box to manage risk at field level. This must be addressed.”

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