PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC — The Czech Republic’s grain crop (excluding corn) in 2018-19 is forecast to be the second smallest in a decade, according to a Sept. 27 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Czech Statistical Office estimates total grain production is 3.5% lower this year, compared to a year ago. Winter barley had the largest year-on-year decline (8%) because of a significant decline in yield. Total wheat production decreased by 4.3% compared to 2017-18, due to a slightly smaller sowing area as well as reduced yield. Spring barley production is down 2.7%.

Overall basic grains yield is estimated at 5.3 tonnes per hectare, which results in total production of 6.6 million tonnes of grains, excluding corn, the USDA said.

“The main reason for a drop in grain yields is adverse weather conditions,” the USDA said. “Satisfactory weather conditions during the planting period and crop development were followed by a very dry season with temperature extremes.”

The first official estimate of corn in marketing year 2018-19 shows yield falling by 6% and production by 10%, as sowing area is slightly smaller.

“Beginning in 2005, Czech farmers used to plant genetically engineered corn (MON810),” the USDA said. “From a high of 5,090 hectares in 2011, Czech farmers planted only 75 hectares of Bt corn in 2016 with no plantings in 2017 or 2018 because of marketing issues.”

In the same report, the USDA said rapeseed area and yield increased year on year.

“Rapeseed has become one of the most profitable crops for Czech farmers,” the USDA said. “It is used for biofuels production and has good export potential.”

Czech rapeseed area is expected to reach 411,802 hectares in 2018-19, which is the second highest on record and 4% higher than 2017-18.