New figures show good EU cereal plantings, due to good weather conditions but grain prices are predicted to remain low.

New Copa and Cogeca figures show good EU cereals plantings this year, due to favourable weather conditions, although the EU rapeseed harvest is expected to be down, partly as a result of the the neonicotinoid seed treatment ban.

Chairman of the Copa Cogeca Cereals Working Party Max Schulman said the latest figures show good EU28 cereals plantings this year with production up 1.4% to reach 309m tonnes, compared to 304m tonnes last year, mainly due to favourable weather conditions in many countries.

"But grain prices remain low, leaving farmers with serious cash flow problems which is exacerbated by late Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments. This cash flow problem could deteriorate even further with oversupply on the market and farmers having to release cereals on the market to buy inputs to improve the quality of the new crops.

"Grain prices are rock-bottom and do not even cover production costs, leaving farmers with serious cash flow problems and potential increase of fallow land."

Chairman of Copa and Cogeca oilseeds group Arnaud Rousseau said the EU28 oilseeds sowing area declined by -2.6% and is still uncertain due to a winter kill possibility.

"A sharp 14% drop in the area planted seen in the UK, mainly as a result of the neonicotinoid seed treatment ban. The sector is in serious danger and the ban must be removed as long as no credible alternatives exist."

However, he said there is some good news in the EU protein crop sector, with forecasts showing a potential high protein crop production partly due to the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and greening requirements.

"This is good news for the EU livestock sector and feed industry. Protein crop production could be expanded further. It is an economic opportunity and we are looking to collaborate with other economic stakeholders to turn greening into green growth."