Following a catastrophic 2017/2018 harvest, German farmers need now more than ever lenient weather conditions in order to erase economic losses. After experiencing the worst drought registered in the country since 1951 (the beginning of official measures) a partial relief came at the end of September and during the beginning of October with scattered rains all over the production areas.

Graph showing Germany wheat precipitation, from September to November 2018.

Nevertheless, precipitations were not sufficient to compensate for the hydric deficit which grew stronger month after month since last April. In this context, only 29 mm was registered in Germany on a national level during October and so way below the long year average.

Map showing precipitation during October 2018 in Germany.
Map showing precipitation during considered reference period 1961-1990 in Germany.

Deviation of cumulated precipitation (%) (left map) during October compared to precipitation (mm) of the considered reference period (right map) 1961-1990 Source : DWD

In this context, winter crop plantings and especially rapeseed and wheat sowings could have been impacted. If it is yet too soon to be alarmed, farmers and market operators are starting to be concerned with the situation. Only a field trip after winter will allow to precisely estimate what really remains to be harvested.

This has also been confirmed by the latest acreage estimation made by the UFOP and following a survey of more than 4000 farmers all across the country. The group therefore estimates the 2019 rapeseed acreage at 1 Mha and so 18 % lower than last year (2017 : 1.221 Mha). Analysts of the organization even consider that additional loss of surfaces due to non-sprouting could lead the national acreage to be displayed at around 900 000 ha…

As a reminder Germany accounts for almost 23 % of the European Rapeseed production (considering the 5-year average) and almost 18 % of the winter wheat.

Aside from crop conditions, the dryness also had dramatic consequences on river freight transport. Indeed, water levels on main waterways are displayed on historic low levels. Therefore, transport premiums are currently skyrocketing displayed in some area at around 20 €/t since cargoes can load only 20 to 30% of their full capacity in order to navigate…

Surprises on the grain and oilseeds market in Europe are therefore far from over while we should see another interesting campaign in a global volatile context. To be followed…

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