The EU spring outlook is framed by war in Ukraine and highlights that supply of food, feed and fertiliser is not a primary concern this year though it recognises rising costs are an issue.

The 2021/22 EU cereals production is projected at 293.3m tonnes, a 4.3% increase year on year. Assuming normal weather conditions this spring and summer, the EU outlook is that production could increase to 297.7m tonnes, 1.5%. Oilseed production was up 6.5% in 2021/22 to 30.2m tonnes and is expected to increase again by 4.8% for the 2022/23 year.

EU milk declined by 0.4% in 2021, the first decline since 2009 and rising costs led to larger than expected dairy herd decline, down 1.5%. Production is expected to increase in the second half of the year and increase by 1% overall. Global supplies are limited and dairy prices are increasing. Skim milk powder has reached €3,800t, a price last seen in 2007, while cheese at €3,700t is back to 2014 levels and butter has climbed above €6,000t.

The outlook for beef production is that it will be down 0.9% in 2022, with suckler cow numbers down by 245,000 head, 2.3% and dairy cows down by 320,000 head, 1.5%. EU beef imports were down 7.5% in 2021 but expected to increase by 5% this year.

Pigmeat production is forecast to fall by 3% this year even with a 32% increase in pig prices during March with Brexit and African swine fever issues influencing the trade. Poultry meat values have increased to €2.46/kg in March, 30% above the five-year average and a 0.5% increase in production is forecast for this year. Sheep and goat flocks are forecast to decline by 3.7% to the lowest levels since 1990 with a 2% decrease in 2022 productio.