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EU 2020 rapeseed crop may only just reach 19 mln T - Strategie Grains

PARIS, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Rapeseed production in the European Union may only just reach 19 million tonnes next year after dry weather hampered sowings, reducing the planted area, consultancy Strategie Grains said.

The consultancy said last month the area sown with rapeseed in the EU this year would be well below the five-year average, as farmers have turned away from the crop after several years of poor performance and weather damage.

"EU rapeseed production is expected to only partially recover in 2020/21. Unless the weather really cooperates from now to the harvest, EU rapeseed production could only just reach 19 million tonnes," Strategie Grains said in a monthly report.

This would be above a poor crop of 16.9 million tonnes in 2019, but below the 20 million tonnes harvested in 2018.

Exceptionally dry weather at sowing time in many EU countries, pest issues and dry weather at the end of the cycle cut this summer's EU rapeseed harvest to a 13-year low.

The EU's crop monitoring unit MARS said last week rapeseed sowings were mainly hampered in northern France, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Spain due to low soil moisture levels, along with a rainfall deficit in August and part of September. It had not given a crop forecast.

Given an expected rise in rapeseed oil demand for use in biodiesel, the EU will have to import very high volumes of rapeseed in 2020/21, Strategie Grains said.

That should help keep rapeseed prices firm worldwide until spring 2020 when sowings start in Canada and Australia, it said. (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Mark Potter)

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