News3 November 2017Brussels, BelgiumAgriculture and Rural Development
Focus on: EU cereal production is expected to recover but stay below average
European Union cereal production in 2017/18 is expected to slightly recover, with an increase of 1.5% compared to 2016/17, adding up to almost 300 million tonnes of cereal. Such a level of production and increase can be considered satisfactory as the total EU area planted with cereals decreased by 1% in 2017/18 in comparison with 2016/17. However, overall levels of EU cereal production should still remain 1.6% below average of the last five years, according to the European Commission's recent short term outlook report.
For 2016/17, global cereal production was estimated to reach more than 2,100 million tonnes, a record harvest. In 2017/18 the global cereal production should decrease by 4%, and come to 2,000 million tonnes, which would still lead to ample quantities on the global cereal market. As a consequence of those important supplies, world and EU prices for cereals have been, and are expected to remain, low.
For EU production, soft wheat is expected to significantly increase for 2016/17 and reach 140 million tonnes, a growth of 5%. EU durum wheat should stabilise at 9 million tonnes and EU barley production should slightly decline to 58 million tonnes. As for maize production, it is expected to remain low for the third consecutive year, at 59 million tonnes, which is 8% below the five-year average.
The total EU cereals ending stocks are expected to decline by 4.2% between 2016/17 (at 38.5 million tonnes) and 2017/18 (at 36.9 million tonnes). Barley and wheat stocks should slightly increase, but other cereals' stocks should decrease.
In terms of quality, the harvest for 2017/18 is expected to be uneven because of weather conditions. Frequent rain in northern Europe reduced the protein content for wheat. In contrast French wheat has an exceptional protein rate, which should benefit European wheat exports.
Finally the EU trade balance for 2016/17 is 4% lower than the five-year average and reached 18 million tonnes due to a decrease in EU cereal exports, mainly due to the disappointing EU wheat harvest in 2016/17.
EU cereal exports are expected to decrease from 38.1 million tonnes in 2016/17 to 37.8 million tonnes for 2017/18. On the other hand imports are planned to increase by 7.6% from 19.3 million tonnes for 2016/17 to 20.8 million tonnes for 2017/18.