EU grain exports to increase by 14% in 2021/2022 to 49 million mt: EC

6 Apr 2022 | Sharon Levrez

EU grain exports could rise by 14% this marketing year to 49 million metric tonnes (mt), including an additional 5.6 million mt of soft wheat, according to the latest forecast published by the European Commission.

In its spring Short-Term Outlook for EU Agricultural markets, the EC’s department for agriculture and rural development said total 2021/22 EU cereals production was projected to reach 293.3 million mt, a 4.3% increase year-on-year.

“Thanks to a substantial increase in EU cereal production in 2021 and ample availability, EU exports of cereals in 2021/22, which were already on the rise before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, are forecast to increase by 14% to 48.9 million mt,” the report said.

“Most of the export growth is forecast for soft wheat with an expected additional 5.6 million t compared to the previous season.”

EU grain imports were meanwhile expected to shrink as a result of the war and resulting curtailment of exports from Ukraine and Russia.

These are now forecast at 18.9 million mt, down 10% compared with 2020/21.

Ukraine is the main source of imported corn for the EU, (6.5 million mt in 2020/21) and a key supplier of wheat.

Looking ahead to 2022/2023, the EC said it expected sowing areas to be above the current year, with winter wheat and winter barley expected to cover 20.7 million ha and 4.8 million ha respectively, both up 1% on 2021/2022.

The area under corn production was also expected to increase due to the temporary relaxation of 'greening of land' rules following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and record-high prices, although no figure was given for this.

Durum wheat sowing area is expected to shrink by 4% to 2.1 million ha.

“Assuming average weather developments during spring and summer, total EU cereals production could reach 297.7 million mt in 2022/23 (+1.5% year-on-year), with soft wheat production forecast at 131.3 million mt,” the report said.

“Net exports of EU cereals are due to increase by 11.5 million mt to 41.4 million mt, almost 40% more.”