Poor outlook for EU cereal production

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Valeria Titarenco
© GettyImages/Valeria Titarenco
Cereal production in the EU is expected to experience a significant decline, while oilseeds remain stable, and protein crops such as peas, beans, and lupins, see a positive boost.

However, the overall situation remains fragile and could deteriorate further, say experts from the Copa and Cogeca Working Parties for Cereals, Oilseeds, and Protein Crops.

They predict a challenging year ahead for EU agriculture.

Declining cereal production

EU-27 cereal production is projected to reach 257.3m tons in 2024, marking a 4.7% decrease compared to the 2023 harvest. Yields are expected to drop slightly by 1.2%, compounded by a 3.5% reduction in the sown area.

This results in a notably poor outlook for cereals, with wheat production anticipated to fall by 6.3% and barley by 9%. Corn production is set to remain stable (-0.5%), while oat production shows a significant increase of 21.2%, they forecast.

Geographically, Northern and Central/Eastern Member States, including Belgium, France, Denmark, and Germany, have seen substantial drops in production. France is particularly affected, with a reduction of 9m tons, and Poland follows closely with a 3m tons drop. While Spain shows an increase of 3m tons, it is not enough to offset the overall decline.

“This puts the 2024 forecast below not only the 2023 levels but also the five-year average by 8.4%.”

copa cogeca cereal forecast
Stable oilseeds output

Oilseeds – sunflower, rapeseed, and soy – production is expected to decrease marginally by 1.0%, reaching 31.9m tons. This is due to a slight reduction in the sown area (-1.6%) and minimal yield improvements (+0.7%).

Despite the decrease, the 2024 production still stands 6.3% above the five-year average, noted the team.

“Spain shows a notable 50% year-on-year increase in oilseeds production, rebounding from an extremely poor 2022. But Poland faces a significant 15% reduction.”

Positive for protein

Protein crops are forecast to see a 13% increase in production, reaching 3.9m tons. However, France is expected to experience a 16% year-on-year reduction due to lower yields. Overall, the outlook for protein crops remains positive compared to the other sectors.

copa proteins and oilseeds forecast

Uncertain future

The experts caution that unpredictable weather conditions and delays in sowing could undermine their forecasts.

The next few weeks will be crucial in determining the final outcomes for 2024.

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