Sweden, Finland, and the UK remain major areas of concern for EU/UK oat markets. Late and variable seeding in all three, coupled with dry conditions throughout much of the growing season, has raised serious yield/production concerns. Moisture levels have ranged from 25-50% and 0-25% below normal across the bulk of the major oat production regions in Sweden and the UK for much of June and July (see maps below).
Finland soil moisture level improvement in late June and have been more than adequate since. However, what is unknown is what germination looked like in the dry month of May and early June.
These three countries account for 32% of EU oat production, 32% of the oat milling, and 57% of the EU oat exports, including to the US. That’s over a third of EU commercial oat activity.
The late and variable seeding is likely the biggest issue, and at some point, growers are going to have to decide which oat crop to harvest, the early or late one. This could mean lower oat quality, and potentially lower tonnages available for EU oat milling markets.
The dry conditions are going to add to the oat yield/quality concerns. Private sources in Finland tell us yields could be down 15-40% from normal in many regions. We are hearing the same from Sweden.
We should point out oats are a fairly hardy crop, that can handle, excess water and dry conditions for a period of time. Just how long has multiple variables. We believe the variable crop development this year may be more of a major concern than the dry conditions.