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EU cereal, oilseed harvests expected to rise

Autumn sowings increased overall for EU cereals and oilseeds and weather conditions remain favorable, creating expectations for a slight relief in the marketing year 2013-2014, according to the European Commission's latest report on the short-term outlook for arable crops, meat and dairy markets. These developments occur against the background of a 2012-2013 cereal usable production of 272 million metric tons (-4.7 percent against 2011-2012 numbers), which tightened the EU cereal balances and resulted in a low stock-to-use ratio of 11.6 percent.

Autumn sowings increased overall for EU cereals and oilseeds and weather conditions remain favorable, creating expectations for a slight relief in the marketing year 2013-2014, according to the European Commission’s latest report on the short-term outlook for arable crops, meat and dairy markets. These developments occur against the background of a 2012-2013 cereal usable production of 272 million metric tons (-4.7 percent against 2011-2012 numbers), which tightened the EU cereal balances and resulted in a low stock-to-use ratio of 11.6 percent.

Cereal production

The 2012 EU cereal harvest turned out almost 5 percent lower than in 2011, with a usable production of 272.3 million metric tons. The sharpest drop was in corn, with usable production declining by 12.7 million metric tons (-18.6 percent) to 55.4 million metric tons, due to much lower yields caused particularly by the drought in Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria.

Common wheat usable production is estimated to have declined compared to the previous year by 5.4 million metric tons (-4.2 percent) to 123.2 million metric tons, mainly due to lower yields (down 3.4 percent). On the other hand, barley usable production increased by 2.5 million metric tons (+4.9 percent) to 53.9 million metric tons, the result of a combined effect of increased sowings (+3.7 percent) and yields (+1.2 percent).

In autumn 2012, reported sowings for the 2013 harvest have increased by 2.2 percent for wheat, 7 percent for winter barley, 4.4 percent for rye and 4.6 percent for triticale in the EU-27, according to the report. In contrast the figures for the UK and Ireland see a considerable reduction in autumn sowings due to adverse weather conditions. On the basis of this information, an assumption of average yields, and the addition of 3.5 million metric tons from the Croatian harvest, cereal usable production in 2013 is expected to increase to 291.1 million metric tons (+6.9 percent).

Oilseed production

In 2012, EU harvests of oilseeds and protein crops were reported at 27.1 million metric tons and 2.3 million metric tons, respectively, both considerably below the previous harvest of 29.1 million metric tons and 2.9 million metric tons. In the case of rapeseed, reduced sowings and considerable winter kill occurred in the major production regions. Sunflower seed was affected more than corn by the drought in Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, reducing the EU yield by 21.3 percent.

Similar to most other winter crop sowings, rapeseed sowings for the 2013 harvest are considerably increased by 8.4 percent for the EU-27, despite declines in the UK (-7.7 percent) and France (-5.7 percent). Due to large increases in autumn sowings, some reduction in sunflower area can be expected, according to the report. Nevertheless, production of oilseeds is expected to increase by 7 percent, to 29.2 million metric tons in 2013-2014. Half of this increase would be due to increased area (mainly rapeseed) and the other half would be the gain from a recovery of yields (mainly sunflower).

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