Friday, 27 April 2012

The rise and fall of oilseed rape

A killer combination of cold winter and dry spring in Europe has reduced estimates for wheat and in particular oilseed rape.  Not so in western Ukraine where the crop is looking extremely good.

But there's not as much of it as there used to be. 

A quick look at the production figures shows the rise and steady fall of oilseed rape in Ukraine from 2005-06 when just over 100kha was grown to a peak in 2008-09 when more than a million hectares produced 2.7mmt. 

But why the decline thereafter?

A couple of difficult growing seasons, high cost of production and a lack of technical knowledge is in my considered opinion why we have seen the crop fall out of favour.

But could 2012 be a turn around season?  Low European output will push the price up, Ukraine is set for a good harvest, money will be made and everyone will get excited about oilseed rape again. 

Will 2012 planting rise on the back of it?  I think so yes.

Thursday, 26 April 2012


This time last year everyone was getting over excited about that staple of Ukraine cuisine, buckwheat.

Back in 2011 every man and his dog was telling me to grow buckwheat "cos it's more valuable than gold and you'll make an absolute killing". 

Taxi drivers, agronomists, old ladies on the street, everyone was behaving as if they worked for the Buckwheat Marketing Board on commission.

Funny how a year later no one is reporting a significant rise in the number of buckwheat millionaires. 

No one is reporting buckwheat full stop.  Until now...

Perfect Storm

It's been raining on and off for the last week and the forecast is for warm and dry. 

Perfect growing conditions. 

Ukraine is about to do what it always does at this time of year which is to go from brown to a vibrant green in the course of about a week.

A dry spell will allow corn and sunflower plantings to fully get underway and warm moist soils will encourage crops to positively shoot out of the ground.

Winter crops are improving all the time and I see other analysts are now agreeing with me and upping their assessment of Ukraine's winter crop potential.

Remember, you heard it here first.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Crop update

The weather is encouraging rapid plant growth and crops will be racing through the growth stages.

Oilseed rape first nitrogen should be on by now.  The crop is looking the best I have seen it for three years and has a lot of potential that will be worth looking after.  Production figures are suggesting a shortage of OSR so this years crop should be worth something.

Winter wheat is just approaching GS31 and requires first application of nitrogen from now.  Much of the nitrogen applied earlier than now will have been washed out of the soil and will not be available to the crop.

Maize and sunflower drilling is just about getting underway although recent rain has slowed plantings.

Officially all spring cereals have now been planted because the reports have been written saying so.  But it hasn't.