Archive:Main annual crop statistics
- Data extracted in July 2015. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned update: December 2017
This article draws a portrait of crop production in the European Union (EU) in 2014 and reports the main changes observed since 2007. Among the main agricultural crops, there were significant increases in the production of grain cereals, green maize and oilseeds between 2007 and 2014 in the EU.
- 1 Main statistical findings
- 2 Data sources and availability
- 3 Context
- 4 See also
- 5 Further Eurostat information
Main statistical findings
In the EU-28, between 2007 and 2014, there was an increase in the harvested production of cereals (+27.8 %), green maize (+22.7 %), oilseeds (+30.0 %) and sugar beet (+11.7 %). In contrast, the production of potatoes (-5.7 %) decreased during the same period.
France and Germany were by far the largest cereal, sugar beet and oilseed producers in 2014, and together they accounted for more than half (53.0 %) of the EU-28’s sugar beet production, 38.7 % of its oilseeds production and 37.3 % of its cereal production in 2014. The production of potatoes was more widely spread across the EU Member States, with Germany recording the highest production volume (19.4 % of the EU-28 total), while Poland, France and the Netherlands each accounted for between 14 % and 11 %. France was, by a large margin, also the leading producer of pulses and responsible for more than one quarter (26.6 %) of total EU-28 production.
Cereals dominate EU arable area
The EU-28 total Utilised Agricultural Area (UAA) covered nearly 177 million hectares in 2013. While the largest part (60.2 %) consisted of arable land, nearly one third was occupied by permanent grassland, and only 6.6 % by permanent crops.
The main crops grown on the total of 106 million hectares of arable land available in the EU-28 in 2013 were cereals (including rice), which occupied close to 55 million hectares. This equated to more than half of the total arable land or nearly one third of the total UAA (31.0 %). Cereals together with plants harvested green (10.8 % of the UAA), industrial crops (7.0 %) and “other crop products” (9.7 %) covered 97.4 % of the total arable land. The remaining area was dedicated to the growing of root crops (0.9 % of the UAA) and dry pulses (0.6 %).
In two Member States, almost the entire utilised agricultural area was taken up by arable land: 98.4 % in Finland (2013 data) and 91.4 % in Denmark (2012 data). Conversely, and for 2013, the proportion of arable land in total utilised agricultural area was below 50 % in seven Member States: Luxembourg (47.8 %), Austria (47.3 %), Greece (38.2 %), Slovenia (36.4 %), the United Kingdom (36.3 %), Portugal (31.4%) and Ireland (24.9 %). These countries also had the highest shares (close to 50 % of the total UAA) of permanent grassland, explained by pedologic and climatic factors and high numbers of grazing animals. The highest proportion of grassland was reported in Ireland (75.1 % of the total UAA). For permanent crops, only two Member States reported a share higher than 30% of the total UAA: Cyprus (31.3 %) and Greece (30.6 %). These high proportions are likely linked to suitable climatic conditions for growing permanent crops such as olive trees, vineyards and other fruit trees.
2014: France, Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom produce 55 % of EU’s cereals
Occupying 58 million hectares, cereals were the main crops grown in the EU-28 in 2014. The harvested cereal production amounted to nearly 334 million tonnes, of which 150 million tonnes was common wheat. This made wheat by far the most important cereal grown (44.9 % of EU-28 cereal production). The second largest harvested quantity was maize (78 million tonnes or 23.4 % of total cereal production), followed closely by barley (61 million tonnes or 18.2 % of total cereal production). The production of other cereals (consisting of triticale, rye, oats and spelt) had together a share of 12.7 % and only around 0.9 % of total EU production consisted of rice (around 3 million tonnes).
Cereal production was concentrated in a limited number of Member States with just three Member States accounting for half of total EU-28 production in 2014: France (21.8 %), Germany (15.5 %) and Poland (9.6%). Unsurprisingly, France and Germany were also the largest producers of wheat and barley. Together they accounted for nearly half (43.5 %) of total EU-28 wheat production and 38.4 % of total barley production. Other major producers of barley included Spain and the United Kingdom (both 11.4 %). France was also the largest grain maize producer, accounting for 23.7 % of total maize production in the EU-28. Together with Romania (15.4 %), Italy (11.8 %) and Hungary (11.7 %) four Member States covered 62.7 % of the total EU-28 grain maize production in 2014.
Growing conditions and climatic prerequisites are such that only eight countries produced rice in the European Union. In 2014, 48.2 % of total EU production was reported by Italy, followed by Spain with 30.0 %.
Peak of harvested production of cereals in 2014 — a 28 % increase since 2007
Since 2007, cereal production has fluctuated considerably. Due to comparatively high cereal prices in 2007 caused by unbalanced supply and demand, EU farmers reacted with a significant production increase (+21.1 %, from 2007 to 2008). However, unfavourable climatic conditions led to a production decrease in 2009 (-6.0 % compared with 2008). The downward trend continued in 2010 and production decreased again by a further 5.1 % compared with 2009. Although in 2011 cereal production increased slightly (+2.6 % compared with 2010), a 2.7 % drop was registered in 2012. In the next two years the EU cereal production grew, by 8.3 % in 2013 and 9.3 % in 2014. Despite the production decreases of 2008, 2009 and 2012, the total level of cereal production in the EU-28 stood nevertheless 27.8 % higher in 2014 than in 2007 (an increase of 72.6 million tonnes). In 2014 the EU Member States produced 334.2 million tonnes of cereals, exceeding the 2004 peak of 316 million tonnes and the highest value recorded in the last 15 years for which data are available for all 28 Member States.
In contrast to production, the harvested area of cereals in the EU-28 remained relatively stable between 2007 and 2014 – never fluctuating by more than 6 %. In 2014 the area was only slightly higher than in 2007 (+1.6 %).
The discrepancy between the increase in harvested production (+27.8 %) and the area cultivated with cereals (+1.6 %), suggests a significant improvement in yield.
Germany and France with the highest shares of potato and sugar beet production
In 2014 the largest area of root crops (1.7 million hectares) was occupied by potatoes, closely followed by sugar beet (1.6 million hectares). Other root crops not classified elsewhere (e.g. fodder beet, fodder kale, rutabaga, fodder carrot, turnips, etc.) were of lesser importance. Thus, this section concentrates on potatoes and sugar beet only and offers an overview of selected statistics and indicators linked to their production in the EU-28.
With nearly 128 million tonnes of sugar beet harvested from about 1.6 million hectares in 2014, the EU was the world’s leading producer (44 % of world production in 2013 ). The largest areas were found in France and Germany, totalling around 0.8 million hectares (25.1 % and 22.9 % respectively of the EU-28 total). France (29.7 %) and Germany (23.3 %) together were responsible for more than half of EU-28 sugar beet production. The other important sugar beet producers in 2014 were Poland (9.0 % of total EU-28 production) and the United Kingdom (7.3 %). These four countries together accounted for 69.3 % of EU-28 production in 2014.
In contrast to sugar beet, potato production was more widely spread across the EU Member States. Even so, Germany, which reported the highest level of production (19.4 % of the EU-28 total in 2014), and France (13.4 %) were jointly responsible for close to one-third of EU-28 total production. Together with three other Member States, Poland (12.4 %), the Netherlands (11.8 %) and the United Kingdom (9.9 %), these five countries were responsible for nearly 67 % of total EU-28 potato production. Poland had the largest harvested area in 2014 with nearly 0.3 million hectares (15.9 % of the EU-28 total potato area), followed by Germany and Romania, each harvesting between 0.2 and 0.3 million hectares. These three countries thus accounted for nearly half of the EU-28 total area of potato production.
2007-2014: Sugar beet— increased production in spite of decrease in area
Given the fixed production of sugar quotas and increasing yields in the EU-28, the sugar beet area has reduced by almost 12 % between 2007 and 2014. In spite of this reduction, production increased by 12 %, mainly due to a 10 % increase from 2013 to 2014. However there were large fluctuations in sugar beet production due to the Common Market Organisation (CMO) 2006 reform, followed by the restructuring of the sugar beet sector, which will lead to the end of quota management in September 2017.
The situation differed considerably in the individual Member States. In some Member States sugar beet production has completely disappeared (Ireland and Bulgaria), while in others there were significant production declines between 2007 and 2014: Portugal (-94.7 %), Greece (-63.1 %), Hungary (-40.3 %), Spain (-26.5 %) and Italy (-18.3 %). Finally, there were Member States where sugar beet production volumes did not fall so much, and in some cases increased. These are the Member States of the so-called “beet belt”, with the most suitable pedo-climatic conditions for sugar beet growing: Slovakia (+83.1 %), Romania (+81.3 %), Austria (+59.8 %), the Czech Republic (+53.1 %), the United Kingdom (+38.3 %), Lithuania (+26.8 %), the Netherlands (+23.8 %), Germany (+18.3 %), France (+14.2 %) and Denmark (+0.5 %).
2007-2014: a 6 % decrease in production of potatoes in the EU
Both potato production and its associated area declined between 2007 and 2014, although much more sharply for the area. Despite some fluctuations, the total harvested area dropped by 0.5 million hectares (-23.7 %) between 2007 and 2014. In the same time span, production fell by 3.6 million tonnes (-5.7 %). The situation differed considerably between countries, varying from significant increases in three Member States (Belgium +36.1 %, Austria +12.2 % and France +11.8 %), to considerable reductions in Latvia (-66.7 %), Estonia (-57.1 %) and Bulgaria (-55.7 %). Still, these significant decreases have had only a very small impact as these countries had little weight in total EU production (less than 0.4 % each in 2014). One single larger producer, Poland, with 4.4 million tonnes less than in 2007 (-37 %), has the largest impact on the overall production decline at EU-28 level.
Production of dry pulses: France is the largest EU producer
Dry pulses are crops sown and harvested mainly for their protein content and include in particular field peas, broad and field beans, sweet lupins as well as other dry pulses such as dry beans, chick peas, lentils, vetches, etc.
In the EU-28 in 2014, dry pulses were grown on 1.5 million hectares (1 % of total arable land) and their production reached 3.2 million tonnes. The harvested production of field peas and broad field beans was 1.3 million tonnes each. Production and area of dry pulses differed considerably between Member States.
In 2014, France was the largest producer of dry pulses (26.6 % of the EU-28 total). French production of field peas accounted for nearly half (41 %) of total EU-28 field peas production in 2014, followed by Germany (12.1 %) and the United Kingdom (9.8 %). The United Kingdom was the leading producer of broad and field beans in 2014, accounting for 35.1 % of the EU-28 total, followed by France (21.9 %) and Italy (10.8 %).
Spain alone accounted for almost one third of the total EU area of dry pulses in 2014 with over 0.4 million hectares. This was almost double the area registered in France.
Oilseeds: a fifth of the total EU production in France alone
Oilseeds such as rape and turnip rape, sunflower seed, soybeans, linseed and other oilseeds were grown on 11,5 million hectares across the EU Member States in 2014 (about 10 % of the total arable land). Oilseeds are essentially used to provide vegetable oil, which is used in the food industry and in producing biodiesel. They are also used as an important protein-rich animal feed ingredient. The production of vegetable oils in the EU has been encouraged due to the mandatory use of biofuels in the EU by 2020. As a result, the EU harvested production of oilseed has grown considerably in recent years, namely 30 % from 2008 to 2014. Oilseed production in the EU-28 reached over 35 million tonnes in 2014. France was by far the largest oilseed producer and accounted for more than one fifth of the EU total production and close to 20 % of the total EU harvested area of oilseed. Together with three other Member States (Germany with a share of 18 % , Romania with 10 % and Poland with a share of 9 %), more than half (58 %) of the total EU oilseed production in 2014 was represented. Rape, turnip rape and sunflower seeds were the major oilseed crops grown in the EU. Considered together, these accounted for 95 % of the total EU-28 oilseed production and covered also 95 % of the total EU oilseed area in 2014. Concerning rape and turnip rape, out of a total of 24 million tonnes harvested in 2014 (69 % of the total oilseed production), Germany was the largest producer with nearly 26 % of the total production. Other important producers were France (23 % share), Poland (13 %) and the United Kingdom (10 %).
Sunflower seed production is concentrated in Eastern Europe. With 23 % of the sunflower production in 2014, Romania was the largest producer, followed closely by Bulgaria (with 22 %), France and Hungary (17 % each). Together these four Member States accounted for 80 % of the EU-28 sunflower seed production and covered nearly three quarters of the total EU-28 sunflower seed area in 2014. Large areas of sunflower production were also reported in Spain (nearly 0.8 million hectares or 19 % of the total EU sunflower seed area).However climatic conditions are such that lower yields have to be accepted, as Spanish sunflower seed production amounted to only 11 % of the total EU-28 production.
Increase of 30 % in production of oilseed crops between 2008 and 2014
Production of oilseed crops increased 9 % between 2008 and 2009, reaching close to 30.0 million tonnes. In the next two years production stabilised at 29.6 million tonnes and in 2012, there was a decrease of 1.3 million tonnes of oilseed crops. In the two following years 2013 and 2014), the production increased 11 % and 12 % consecutively, reaching a total EU-28 oilseed production of 35.2 million tonnes in 2014. Overall, in the seven year period from 2008 to 2014, the EU-28 production of oilseed crops increased 29 % (7.8 million tonnes), while the area of oilseed increased 12 % (1.2 million hectares).
2007-2014: 23 % increase of green maize production
Plants harvested green are arable crops intended for animal feed, or for renewable energy. They are grown in rotation with other plants and include green maize, leguminous plants and temporary grasses.
Within the category of “Plants harvested green”, green maize is by far the most important crop. Therefore, this section concentrates on green maize only and aims to give an overview of the selected statistics and indicators linked to its production in the EU-28.
Green maize was harvested from a little over 6 million hectares in the EU-28 in 2014. The area increased by 1 million hectares (+20.9 %) compared with 2007. Its production amounted to 210 million tonnes, nearly 39 million tonnes more than in 2007 (+22.7 %). Production increased more than the area, suggesting a higher yield. Natural conditions and both production and consumption behaviour resulted in varied production patterns across the individual Member States.
With slightly over 99 million tonnes harvested from about 2 million hectares in 2014, Germany was the EU-28’s leading producer of green maize. Germany and four other Member States, Poland (12.3 %), France (9.5 %), Italy (7.4 %) and the Netherlands (5.1 %), together were responsible for 81.4 % of total EU-28 green maize production. Moreover, the same countries accounted for 75.9 % of total EU-28 green maize area.
Between 2007 and 2014, significant increases in production of green maize were observed in Ireland (+1 130 %) and the three Baltic countries (Estonia +613 %, Latvia +513 % and Lithuania +310 %). The main factors for the upward trend in the EU between 2007 and 2014 can be found in the most significant producing countries: Germany produced 30 million tonnes more (+43.4 %), Poland 8 million tonnes more (+47.8 %) and the Czech Republic produced 4 million tonnes more (+72 %). These three Member States were thus responsible for the total EU increase.
Data sources and availability
Statistics on crop products are obtained by sample surveys, supplemented by administrative data and estimates based on expert observations. The sources vary from one EU Member State to another because of national conditions and statistical practices. National statistical institutes or Ministries of Agriculture are responsible for data collection in accordance with EC Regulations. The finalised data sent to Eurostat are as harmonised as possible. Eurostat is responsible for establishing EU aggregates.
The statistics collected on agricultural products cover more than 100 individual crop products. Information is collected for the area under cultivation (expressed in 1 000 hectares), the quantity harvested (expressed in 1 000 tonnes) and the yield (expressed in 100 kg per hectare). For some products, data at a national level may be supplemented by regional statistics at NUTS level 1 or level 2.
This article gives an overview of European crop production, based on data provided to Eurostat by the EU-28 Member States under Regulation (EC) No 543/2009 concerning crop statistics.
The term ‘crop’ covers a very broad range of cultivated plants. Within each type of crop there can also be considerable diversity in terms of genetic and phenotypic (physical or biochemical) characteristics. The range and variety of crops grown across the European Union (EU) reflects their heritable traits as well as the ability of plant breeders to harness those traits to best respond to the myriad of topographic and climatic conditions, pests and diseases.
The statistics on crop production in this article are shown at an aggregated level and have been selected from over 100 different crop products for which official statistics are collected.
- Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics - 2016 edition
- Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics - 2015 edition
- Farm structure survey 2013 - main results
- Agricultural census 2010
Further Eurostat information
- Agriculture, see:
- Agricultural production (t_apro)
- Crop products (t_apro_cp)
- Cereals, area (tag00006)
- Cereals, production (tag00031)
- Wheat, area (tag00105)
- Wheat, production (tag00033)
- Sugar beet, production (tag00106)
- Potatoes, area (tag00107)
- Potatoes, production (tag00108)
- Rape, area (tag00099)
- Rape, production (tag00104)
- Sunflower, area (tag00009)
- Sunflower, production (tag00109)
- Crop products (t_apro_cp)
- Agriculture, see:
- Agricultural production (apro)
Source data for tables, figures and maps (MS Excel)
Methodology / Metadata
- Crop statistics (area, production and yield) (apro_acs) - ESMS metadata file
- Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1557/2015 of 13 July 2015 amending Regulation (EC) No 543/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning crop statistics (Text with EEA relevance)
- Regulation (EC) No 543/2009 of 29 June 2009 concerning crop statistics and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) 837/90 and (EEC) 959/93