Serbia: Barley Planting for Brewery Use Surges


Jun 15, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

Barley is a secondary grain crop in Serbia. Serbia’s MY2022/23 Barley was not affected by the spring and summer drought because it was planted in the fall of 2021 and harvested in June 2022. The area planted with Barley in MY2022/23 was approximately 110,000 HA or 5 percent higher than in the previous year, primarily due to higher demand. In MY2022/23, Barley was planted on 90,000 HA as winter Barley, and an additional 20,000 HA was planted as spring Barley. At an estimated average yield of 5.1 MT/HA, production is estimated at 560,000 MT for MY2022/23.

The area planted with Barley has risen steadily over the last ten years from 80,000 HA in MY2011/12 to 110,000 HA in MY2022/23. The area planted with Barley in MY2023/24 is expected to be 120,000 HA or 9 percent higher than in the previous year, primarily due to higher demand. In MY2023/24, Barley was planted last fall on 90,000 HA as winter Barley, and an additional 30,000 HA will be planted as spring Barley. For MY2023/24, at an estimated average Barley yield of 4.7 MT/HA, production will be around 560,000 MT.

Barley production is concentrated in Vojvodina (44%), followed by Sumadija and Western Serbia (29%), Southern and Eastern Serbia (19%), and Belgrade (8%). Barley has become increasingly important in recent years: due to its excellent tolerance to winter conditions, a relatively earlier harvest that arrives around mid-June, a crop that avoids stressful situations, the safety of selling the mercantile goods on the market, and its production profitability. High grain yields and excellent quality make it an important crop and the possibility of using Barley in animal feed.

Total Barley consumption for the past five years has ranged between 350,000 – 450,000 MT, of which about half is for animal feed, and the latter is for the brewery industry. Barley consumption in MY2023/24 is estimated at 460,000 MY. Consumption of brewery Barley has increased due to consistent demand from breweries. Local breweries have been sold to well-known Belgian, U.S., Canadian, German, Austrian, and Turkish companies. Barley planted for brewery use continues to expand year after year.

Barley beginning stocks in MY2022/23 are estimated at 34,000 MT. Post projection for Barley ending stocks in MY2022/23 is high at about 104,000 MT. The price of Barley usually follows the price of wheat. The current market price for Barley is 30 dinars/kg ($272/MT).

Barley Trade in Serbia

With record production estimated at 545,000 MT for MY2021/22, exports were also significant, reaching a record high of export of 120,000 MT of Barley. Demand for Barley from Serbia was high because it was available when other crops were banned for export. Barley is mainly exported by truck and rail. Most Serbian Barley was exported to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, and Montenegro. From July 2022 until February 2023, Serbia exported 68,353 MT of Barley, 6.5 percent lower than in the same period last year when Serbia exported 73,135 MT of Barley. Total Barley exports for MY2022/23 could reach 80,000 MT. It is estimated that total Barley exports in MY2023/24 could reach 150,000 MT.

In MY2022/23, Serbia imported Barley in larger quantities than usual, about 20,000 MT from July 2022 until February 2023. It is estimated that in MY2022/23, total Barley imports could reach 30,000 MT. In previous years imports of Barley reached a maximum of 5,000 MT annually. This is mainly because of high Barley prices on the domestic market; Serbian Barley was not competitive in the region. In MY2022/23, Barley was imported from Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria.

Other sources: USDA

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