EU cereal production down 2% for 2016
Total EU cereal production for the 2016/2017 marketing year was 294.6m tonnes, according to the European Commission. This equates to a 2% drop on the previous five-year average. The total area sown under cereals also shrank, although more slowly.
Maize production in particular experienced a significant drop of 10% in areas harvested, when compared to the last five-year average.
Overall, there were lower yields reported for common wheat in 2016/2017, while yields for barley and maize were above average.
In 2016/2017, wheat production was down below the average EU-wide with a total yield of 134.4m tonnes. Lower harvests were recorded in France, Belgium and the Netherlands due to peculiar climate conditions. In contrast, there were very good harvests in eastern and southeastern Europe, with a reported 10% in the harvest when compared with the five-year average.
Barley production remained at a high level of around 60m tonnes for the fourth consecutive year. Particularly good harvests were recorded in Spain and Romania, with an increase of nearly 30% above the last five-year average. However, output fell in France by 9%.
Maize production was excellent in Hungary and other central European countries, such as Slovakia.
However, it suffered from adverse weather conditions in many other parts of Europe, including southeastern countries such as Romania and Bulgaria, where output was 15% below the average level.
Northwestern Europe also felt a decrease with output dropping in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands by approximately 20%, below the average.
Animal feed remains the main use of cereals in Europe. In 2016/2017 the quantities of cereals used in feed did not increase for the first time since 2011.
A total of 173m tonnes of cereals were used for feed in the EU, principally wheat, barley and maize. A relatively large EU harvest, coupled with a drop in exports, led to a significant increase in the quantity of barley used for feed.
There is a growing trend in the use of maize for feed, however it was not readily available in the EU in 2016/2017.