Austrian Wheat and Meslin Imports Hit a Record High
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Due to favorable growth conditions, Wheat is the main crop grown in Austria, followed by maize. Common Wheat is cultivated on 280,000 hectares and has an average yield of 5.5 tons per hectare, resulting in an average annual production of 1.6 million tons.
In Austria, traditional areas for cultivating quality Wheat are found in central and eastern Lower Austria and northern and central Burgenland. In terms of climate, this region is called the continental Pannonian climate zone. This region’s deep soils that are rich in humus positively affect Wheat quality. Although yields are lower than in the Alpine foothills (western Lower Austria and Upper Austria) due to the lack of water, Pannonian Wheat is particularly suitable for baking and marketed far beyond the country’s borders (quality Wheat region).
In western Lower Austria, Upper Austria, and in the remaining cultivation areas, yields are higher, whereas quality is somewhat lower than in the Pannonian region; in average years, good milling Wheat quality is produced there (milling Wheat region).
Winter grains are planted in autumn and, depending on crop growth and weather conditions, harvested as of mid-June in the following year. Due to the extended period of growth and thanks to winter humidity, winter cereals bring in higher yields than summer cereals. Unlike summer cereals, winter cereals need exposure to cold as a stimulus to induce the flowering process and seed production (vernalization). Summer grains are sown in spring and need only a couple of months before they are ready to harvest. Because of climate change and the tendency of summers to be hot and dry, summer cereal crops in Austria are declining.
The Austrian Wheat varieties are graded into nine quality categories, with category 1 representing the lowest and category nine the highest baking quality. In the Pannonian climate zone in eastern Austria, the quality Wheat varieties are dominant, which are classed into the baking quality categories 7 to 9. The top-quality Wheat varieties are “Bernstein,” “Capo,” “Midas,” “Energo,” “Arnold,” and “Element.” Among the milling Wheat varieties, which are classed into the baking quality categories 3 to 6, the varieties “Spontan,” “RGT Reform,” and “Siegfried” are noteworthy.
The average hectoliter weight of quality Wheat was 80.9 kg, according to the Wheat quality analysis conducted in 2018. The hectoliter weight was also good in Upper Austria and western Lower Austria. The protein content was excellent at 15.5% in the quality Wheat area. The gluten content was correspondingly good at 36.5%. In the milling Wheat area, a protein of 13.9% was measured, far above the minimum value for milling Wheat at the Exchange for Agricultural Products (12.5%). The wet gluten content was correspondingly good at 32.3%.
According to the USDA data, in MY2021/2022, Austria’s Wheat area harvested and production was 277,000 hectares and 1.52 million tons, respectively. For MY2022/2023, Austria’s Wheat area and production are estimated at 280,000 hectares and 1.53 million tons, respectively.
Austrian Wheat Trade
The monetary value of Wheat and meslin imported to Austria increased from 2012 to 2021. According to the Statista, imports of Wheat and meslin hit a record high of 258.2 million euros in 2021. Austria imported Wheat worth $224 million in 2020, becoming the world’s 51st most significant importer of Wheat. Austria imports Wheat primarily from: Hungary ($92.7 million), Czechia ($57 million), Slovakia ($50.3 million), Germany ($9.15 million), and Croatia ($6.57 million).
In 2019, Austria shipped 670,403 tons of Wheat. As of 2018, the leading destinations of Wheat exports from Austria were Italy ($110 million), Germany ($36.2 million), Switzerland ($16.1 million), France ($5.55 million), and Slovenia ($2.92 million).
Other sources: INFO BLM
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