EU on track for lowest sugar beet crop in more than 40 years
LONDON - The European Union could be heading for its smallest sugar beet crop in more than four decades in 2015/16 due to a smaller planted area and a drop in yields triggered by adverse weather. "The key reasons for the drop in EU sugar producti...
LONDON - The European Union could be heading for its smallest sugar beet crop in more than four decades in 2015/16 due to a smaller planted area and a drop in yields triggered by adverse weather.
"The key reasons for the drop in EU sugar production in 2015/16 are the decrease of beet area by more than 200,000 hectares, combined with a drop in yield per hectare of 8 percent (year-on-year)," said Ruud Schers, sugar analyst with Rabobank.
He said the drop in the beet area was a consequence of processors asking growers to cut plantings after a big crop in 2014/15, and a subsequent carry-forward of sugar into 2015/16.
Rabobank puts EU output at 15.3 million tons, down from 19.3 million in 2014/15, broadly in line with other analysts.
EU sugar beet production in 2015/16 is expected to be the lowest in more than 40 years, according to Schers.
In France, mild autumn weather has helped farmers wrap up a disappointing harvest, as attention turns to an expected rise in plantings next year before EU output quotas disappear in 2017.
France's sugar beet crop is expected to fall 14 percent year-on-year to 32.6 million tons, according to the farm ministry, reflecting both yield losses due to summer drought and heatwaves, and a smaller area after last year's bumper harvest led to large stocks.
Beet growers' group CGB estimates the national yield at 87 tons per hectare (t/ha), below the average of the past five years at 89 t/ha.
Germany's harvest has progressed well in mostly good weather, and some refineries finished their work several weeks earlier than last year, said Guenter Tissen, chief executive of industry group WVZ.
But a reduction in plantings means the crop will be down from last year's especially-large crop.
Germany will harvest about 20.4 million tons of sugar beet for processing in the current harvest, down about 7.1 million tons from last year. Sugar production is expected to fall to 3.2 million tons from 4.4 million tons last year.
Poland has harvested around 8.9 million tons of beet, down from 13.5 million last season, according to Rafal Strachota, deputy director of beet growers' group KZPBC.
In the UK, with a 25 percent cut in the contracted area under cultivation, sugar production is expected to be just short of 1.0 million tons, said Colm Mckay, agriculture director of supplier British Sugar.
"This will lead to a welcome fall in our stock levels," he said.