Welcome to The Weekly Harvest, where we recap this week’s hot topics in the crop market. Here is the recap for this week:
1. French Rapeseed Crop Prospects Falter
France’s 2021 rapeseed production potential is raising concern due to recent frost and a smaller seeded area. The French agriculture ministry estimates the rapeseed area at 990,000 hectares, 11% below 2020 and 27% below the five-year average – the first time in six years that the rapeseed seeded area would be below one million hectares.
France’s main growing regions saw unseasonably cold temperatures over the past week. The French Oilseed and Protein Crop Producers reports that 40,000 to 50,000 hectares of rapeseed was damaged by frost. Many of these hectares will be abandoned and tilled.
Canadian canola exports to the E.U. will benefit from France’s lost acres. E.U. rapeseed imports total 5.3 MMT so far in the 2020/21 marketing year, up 5% from last year. FarmLink anticipates a strong import program well into 2021/22.
2. Craft Beer Market Share Tumbles
For the first time, craft beer production posted a decline. According to the Colorado-based Brewers Association, craft beer volume fell 9%, compared to a 3% drop for the total beer market.
Craft beer, generally has higher malt barley content and uses more ingredients like hops in the manufacturing process. Less craft beer consumption will negatively impact the overall demand for malt barley.
Craft beer had a 12.3% market share in 2020, slightly down from 13.6% in 2019 (pre-pandemic). Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many taprooms, brewpubs, and bars had to shut down – businesses that the craft beer industry heavily relies on. The industry tried to pivot, boosting to-go packaging and delivery options, but these efforts could not make up for the “live” experience, which fuels the craft beer market.
The Brewers Association forecasts craft beer will show growth in 2021 but will not exceed pre-pandemic levels until 2023.
3. Weather Update – Dry Conditions in India
Indian producers are struggling with below-average moisture levels this rabi crop season. Rainfall totals from March 1, 2021, to April 13, 2021 are estimated to be 41% below the long-term average and expected to be in the normal range for only 22% of the monitoring stations across the country.
Producers are currently harvesting the rabi crop, and production estimates were already downgraded due to dry conditions. Producers could face planting delays and reduced yields if this dry trend continues into the next cropping cycle (kharif crop season). But there’s still hope as the next crop cycle happens during the monsoon season (May through October) and private forecasters are projecting average rainfall at 103% of the long-term average. Average rainfall includes totals ranging between 96% and 104% of a 50-year average of 88 centimetres for the entire four-month season, starting in June.
The state-run India Meteorological Department will announce its annual monsoon forecast at the end of the month. Monsoon rains supply ground moisture for the current crop but also fill reservoirs for the following one. India is the world’s largest pulse producer but is still not self-sufficient in production. Any hiccups with Indian pulse production opens doors for additional pulse exports from Canada, making India’s monsoon outcome a watch factor going forward.
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