The drought has heavily affected grain, rapeseed, and forage production in Germany. As a result, Germany, one of the EU’s largest grain exporters, is expected to strongly increase imports of soybeans/soybean meal and to become a net grain importer, said a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN). The US is set to become top source of soybeans to Germany. The drought was officially declared, “a weather incident of national extent,” enabling the government to award financial support for over 10,000 farms in Germany.
Average temperatures in April and May 2018 were the highest since 1881. High temperatures, strong winds, and little to no rain resulted in a water deficiency in the North and East of the country. July brought a heat wave for all of Germany with rain limited to occasional, local showers. August saw more of the same so that by end of August all of Germany.
The German Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL) issued a preliminary estimate for the 2018 grains and winter rapeseed crop. Grains production (without corn) is estimated at 34.5 million MT compared to last year’s result of 41.0 million MT. This is the lowest production since 1994 and mainly a result of the drought in the North and East of the country.The drought had similar effects on rapeseed production, which is forecast at 3.6 million MT compared to last year’s 4.3 million MT. This is the lowest rapeseed crop since 2003.
In addition, the drought had a negative effect of forage production (hay, corn, and grass silage). In many regions there was not enough grass growth for the usual third cutting; some regions failed to harvest even a second cutting. In the most drought stricken regions corn plants did not develop a cob resulting in low quality corn silage. Domestic feed will be replaced by soybean meal and sunflower meal as well as grains from EU and non-European countries.This is expected to boost soybean/soybean meal imports and soybean crush. The US is set to become the top source of soybeans for Germany due to supply and competitive prices.