France Devotes 36% of the Total Barley to the Beer Industry 


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Sep 20, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

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Where is Barley produced in France? Production is concentrated in the North East quarter of France, the largest production basins in France being Great East, Loire Valley Center, Tops of France, and Burgundy Franche Comte.

The European Union produces over a third of world volumes, followed by Russia, Australia, and Canada. France ranks first among European producers, ahead of Germany, Spain, and Denmark, with 1.24 million hectares of cultivated land, 69,000 hectares more than in 2021, and production of around 8.25 million tons. On average, a slight drop in yield of 65 quintals/ha was recorded against 68.59 quintals/ha in 2021.

Total Barley production in the European Union amounts to approximately 53.3 million tons compared to 118 million tons for soft Wheat (2020 figures). According to the first results reported by the statistical services of the Ministry of Agriculture (Agreste), Barley production in France would reach 11.9 million tons this year, i.e. + 4.6% compared to last year.

For spring Barley, the 2023 harvest is estimated at 2.8 Mt, which marks a sharp drop compared to 2022 (-6.2%) and even more compared to the 2018-2022 average (-21. 5%). The good 2023 yields (56.5 q/ha nationally, i.e., +9.2% compared to the previous season) do not compensate for the 14.1% reduction in surface area.

Winter Barley, mainly cultivated, is sown in October for a harvest from June to July. Winter Barley production is estimated at 9.2 Mt, a strong increase compared to 2022 (+8.3%) and compared to the 2018-2022 average (+13.1%). The yield would be 68.8 q/ha, + 5%, compared to the last season.

With approximately 148 million tons harvested yearly worldwide on nearly 50 million hectares, Barley has risen to 4th place among the most cultivated cereals in the world. Its use is shared between animal feed (70% of production) and malting.

Barley is sown at the end of winter or at the dawn of spring, depending on the variety: a distinction is made between spring Barley (mainly malting Barley) and winter Barley (such as snail, which is used for animal feed).

What are the uses of Barley? Several outlets exist for the production of Barley. Animal consumption: About a third of Barley production is consumed directly on the farm to feed livestock (1.9 million tons in the 2020/2021 campaign), widely used by the animal feed industry. Beer consumption: by devoting 36% of its varietal production to it, France has risen to the rank of the leading producer of malting Barley in the European Union. For the record, it is considered that one hectare of Barley can produce 35,000 liters of beer.

French beer consumption amounted to 22 million hectoliters in 2020, with 70% of the beers consumed in France being produced in French territory. But several steps are necessary, from the grain to the first sip of beer.

France Devotes 36% of the Total Barley to the Beer Industry

Barley Exports in France

France’s main customers within the EU are Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. French Barley is exported to China (2.9 million tons for the 2020/2021 campaign).

According to AgFlow data, France’s largest export market was China (1 million tons) in July – August 2023. The following markets were Spain (20,632 tons), India (13,500 million tons), South Africa (9,000 tons), and Portugal (8,440 million tons).

In 2021, France exported Barley worth $1.67 billion, making it the 2nd largest exporter of Barley globally. In the same year, Barley was France’s 73rd most shipped product. The leading destinations of Barley exports from France were China ($901 million), Belgium ($336 million), the Netherlands ($124 million), Germany ($79.8 million), and Mexico ($59.8 million).


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