Ukraine Spring Crop Planting Lags on Snow, Cold, Oil World Says

Spring crop planting in Ukraine is two weeks to three weeks behind the normal pace because of cold weather and snow, Oil World said.

Farmers had planted 1.24 million hectares (3.06 million acres) of spring crops as of April 10, with most sowing consisting of barley, the Hamburg-based researcher said today in an e-mailed report. Sunflower seed planting has begun in southern parts of the country, with about 40,000 hectares sown as of April 10, in line with last year. Winter crop development also may have been delayed in some areas by recent cold weather, which might affect yield potential, according to the report.

“Farmers have to prepare for a tight sowing period once the weather improves,” Oil World said. “This is likely to become of major concern for producers in the north and west of Ukraine where the snow melt is still insufficient. As a result, some farmers are adjusting their sowing plans to the benefit of corn, sunseed and soybeans.”

Ukraine’s rapeseed exports tumbled to 10,000 metric tons in March, a fifth of the shipments at the same time last year, Oil World said. Exports of four major oilseeds have totaled 1.797 million tons since the marketing year began in October, up 18 percent from a year earlier, led by a jump in soybean shipments.

“Soybeans will likely stay the major oilseed exported from Ukraine this season, surpassing rapeseed,” Oil World said. In March, “rapeseed shipments plunged due to the scarce domestic supplies left over from the dismal crop harvested in 2012 and the very large exports in preceding months.”

European Union

Soybean oil exports from the European Union may climb to a “multi-year high” of as much as 900,000 tons in the 2012-13 season that started Oct. 1, Oil World said. Most EU shipments have gone to Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and South Africa. Spain also sold a 10,000-ton soybean oil cargo in January to Iran, according to the report.

Soybean oil prices in Rotterdam climbed to 850 euros a ton in the past week. Supplies from the EU are becoming less price competitive with South American soybean oil, which may result in “sizably lower” exports from the bloc in coming months, Oil World said.

EU imports of rapeseed and canola dropped to 54,000 tons from October through January, and total purchases in the 2012-13 season may be “significantly short” of earlier expectations, Oil World said. “Insufficient” production in Canada and import demand from the U.S. and China will keep EU imports from North America “at a very depressed level” through the rest of the season, it said.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.