Ukraine Sunseed Production Seen Down 20 Pct, Rapeseed Down 9 Pct

The US agricultural attaché says that the financial turmoil and the credit crunch may result in lower input application and inferior technologies (e.g. decreased use of high quality seeds and hybrids by farmers), probably leading to both lower yield and quality of sunflower seed in the Ukraine in the coming season.

We expect the sunflower yield to decline to 1.35 tons per ha, implying a sunflower seed crop of approximately 5.1 million tons, which is at least 20% less than sunflower seed production in the 2008/2009 marketing year. Most Ukrainian crop analysts forecast sunflower seed crop in a range of 5.1-5.9 million tons, they say.

Meanwhile the area planted with winter rapeseed for the 2009/2010 harvest decreased to 1.44 million ha, compared to 1.6 million ha for the 2008/2009 harvest, mostly due to unfavourable conditions during the winter planting campaign, says the attaché. Weather conditions were generally favorable for rapeseed crops development, except for some frosts in the beginning of January. We expect winter rapeseed harvested area to decrease by 18% compared to 1.33 million ha harvested in the 2008/2009 marketing year.

The area planted with spring rapeseed is expected to increase in the 2009/2010 marketing year. Strong demand from the European Union helped rapeseed prices to stay firm compared to prices of other grains and oilseeds. We expect spring rapeseed harvested area to increase by about 240% from 44.3 thousand ha harvested in the 2008/2009 marketing year. However, this increase in spring rapeseed area will not be able to offset the decrease in winter rapeseed planted area, and the total rapeseed harvested area is forecast to decrease by 9% in the 2009/2010 marketing year.