New estimates for this year’s EU grain harvest are forecasting a 6% drop in EU cereal and oilseeds production, due to extreme weather conditions.

The estimate comes from Copa Cogeca, the farmer and agri cooperative representative body in the EU. The total harvest is expected to be in the region of 273.8m tonnes.

Copa Cogeca cereals working party chair Max Schulman said: “Farmers in some central European and northern countries [Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Germany and Finland] have been hit by severe drought, which is reaching catastrophic proportions. Whilst some southern countries [Iberian Peninsula, Italy, France] have been experiencing floods.”

Copa Cogeca oilseeds working party chair Arnaud Rousseau went on to warn of the estimated 6% drop, around 2m tonnes, in EU oilseeds production. Last year's production figure stood at 31.5m tonnes.

“We are concerned about the substitution of EU crop-based biofuels by palm oil and biodiesel imports. EU crop-based biofuels which generate a protein-rich co-product for use in animal feed must be promoted against palm oil in the EU. In addition, we call on the Commission to implement urgently the countervailing duty on biodiesel imports originating from Argentina”.

The body is also predicting a fall of 5% (100,000 hectares) in protein crops planted due to a ban on the use of plant protection products in Ecological Focus Areas. Tis will lead to a 1m tonne drop in protein crops.

Finally, to help farmers stay afloat Copa Cogeca has called on the EU Commission to issue an advance payment to those suffering the adverse effects of extreme climatic conditions.

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