Germany: Spring Wheat Area Falls by 45%


Jun 12, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

Germany’s 2023 Wheat crop is expected to fall 2.3% on the year to 22.01 million tons, the country’s Association of farm cooperatives DRV said in its first harvest estimate in March. The association forecast that Germany’s 2023 winter rapeseed crop is declining 1.1% from last summer’s crop to 4.23 million tons.

The association said the main reasons for the expected fall include a reduced planted area with increased competition for land for other uses and rising weather risks due to climate change’s impact. Germany is the European Union’s second-largest Wheat producer after France and, for many years, the EU’s largest producer of rapeseed, Europe’s main oilseed for edible oil and biodiesel production.

German farmers are estimated to have cut Wheat sowings for harvesting this summer by 2.5% to 2.89 million hectares. The country is losing about 30,000 hectares of agricultural land annually to housing and road building while increasing areas of farmland are also being used for photovoltaic installations to generate solar power, the association said.

The association said the optimum weather, which in past years enabled bumper harvests, “belongs to the past.” German farmers are estimated to have raised winter rapeseed sowings for harvesting this summer by 7.5% on the year to 1.16 million hectares as they turned away from Wheat. But rapeseed crop yields are forecast to fall.

The winter barley crop, for animal feed, will fall 0.7% to 9.16 million tons, the association said. The spring barley crop, often used for beer and malt production, will fall 11.6% to 1.74 million tons after sowings are cut. The maize (corn) crop will be little changed on last year, up 0.2% at 3.84 million tons, it said.

Farmers in Germany are planting winter Wheat on 2.85 million hectares for the 2023 crop year. The area sown for winter Wheat is thus 1.4% smaller than in 2022. As the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also reports, according to initial estimates, the cultivation of the most extensive Grain types for Grain production (including Grain maize) is expected to cover an area of 5.97 million hectares (-79 700 hectares or -1.3%). According to this, winter Wheat accounts for almost half (48%) of the area under cereal cultivation in 2023.

As is usual in Germany, the focus of Grain cultivation in 2023 will again be on winter Grain, which also includes winter Wheat. For example, winter Grain is cultivated on 5.04 million hectares, roughly corresponding to the previous year’s level (+0.7%) or 84% of the Grain cultivation area. The farms planted 1.27 million hectares (+5.2%) of winter barley, 611,400 hectares (+4.0%) of rye and mixed winter cereals (cereal mixtures), and 311,900 hectares of triticale, a hybrid of Wheat and rye hectares (-3.8%).

With a cultivation area of 925,600 hectares (-11.0% compared to the previous year), summer cereals are only cultivated on a small scale in Germany compared to winter cereals. The area under spring Wheat for the 2023 harvest season is expected to be 28,800 hectares. The area under cultivation had thus fallen by 23,400 hectares or 45% compared to the previous year when it had risen sharply. The area under spring barley will decrease by 41,600 hectares (-11.2%) to 329,300 hectares. In the year 2023, oats are expected to be grown on 138,600 hectares (-13.3%) and Grain maize on 429,000 hectares (-6.1%).

German Wheat Export

In 2021, Germany exported Wheat worth $2.13 billion, making it the 9th largest exporter of Wheat in the world. In the same year, Wheat was Germany’s 163rd most exported product. The leading destination of Wheat exports from Germany is Algeria ($592 million), the Netherlands ($373 million), Belgium ($230 million), Nigeria ($150 million), and the United Kingdom ($128 million).

Other sources: DESTATIS

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