Approximately 350.000 hectares of crops were destroyed last winter, out of a total 2.57 million hectares sown last autumn; rape crops were the worst hit by very low temperatures, and 77 pc of them were totally compromised, according to data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR), the Jurnalul National newspaper reports. According to MADR experts, it is still premature to make a forecast, because spring crops are still being sown. “We estimate that the areas covered by wheat – about 1.9 million hectares – will secure a total output that will cover the consumption needs of Romania and will allow some exports,” MADR sources said. In 2012, the surface planned to be sown with corn will be 45,000 hectares larger than in 2011, as the 2.63 million hectares planted with corn in 2011 placed Romania first in the European Union. As for sugar beet, MADR estimates a total surface 4,000 hectares larger than in 2011 (circa 69,000 hectares). MADR estimates for 2012 one million hectares sown with sunflower – a level similar to that of 2011.