Serbia Wheat Output: Twice as Much as Local Needs
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“The yield for me, where full agrotechnics are applied, will be between 6.5 and 7.0 tons per hectare. The yield is lower than last year. Protein is at the level of last year, but the hectoliter mass is much weaker for all varieties. It is the weight of a cubic meter. So, it is normal for a cubic meter to weigh 760 to 800 kilograms, and now it is around 700 kilograms. You have a yield in terms of volume, but there is none in kilograms.”, the farmer Žarko Kobilarov from Zmajevo said.
Grain expert Malešević notes that the rain at the time of harvest is what Wheat needs the least, because of which it will lose both the yield and the quality of the Grain. It is not yet known precisely how much has been sown, but the figure is around 725,000 hectares. Last year, as usual, it was on 600,000 hectares from which we usually harvested from 2.8 to 3.0 million tons of Wheat. According to sources, the professional forecast is that the average yield this year will be at the level of last year, a little more than five tons per hectare.
“The quality of the Grain is greatly damaged because the hectoliter mass, that is, the specific weight of the Grain, is lower than in previous years and is lower in all varieties compared to their usual Grain weight. This is a consequence of those tropical days before ripening and the previous rainy period, which also contributed to the Grain not forming as it should,” explains the Grain expert.
Because of this, he says, the Wheat is lighter, and therefore, the quality of the flour itself will probably be lower, or the flour yield during milling. According to information from laboratories that analyze Wheat, the protein content is good, in standard amounts between 11.5 and 13 percent, but the internal quality of the Grain itself is not as good as it should be, Malešević points out.
Considering the larger areas sown with Wheat, about 3.5 million tons will be harvested this year, twice as much as our needs. Kobilarov says he will wait to decide what to do with Wheat. “I am specifically storing Wheat, so I will see in a couple of months what will happen on the market.” It is not known precisely what the price will be; there are stocks from last year, and the crop, like every year, is greater than the needs of Serbia so that we will have a serious amount for export”, says a producer of bread Grain.
Malešević believes that the producers will significantly store Wheat, which is now abundant, since its price has increased on some European exchanges because it has not been produced everywhere. The French, the largest Wheat producers in Europe, have already announced that the crop will be smaller by several million tons.
Wheat Price Issue in Serbia
When asked what minimum price farmers would be satisfied with, considering the production costs, Kobilarov notes that the current 22 dinars per kilogram certainly cannot cover that.
“For my technology, that is, for my production costs per hectare, and for this yield, 30 dinars per kilogram is a minimum price to cover the production costs.” We had costly inputs for this year’s production. “Fertilizer, pesticides, fuel, everything was drastically more expensive than the previous year,” says a farmer from Zmajevo.
The industry experts’ assessment of the costs of producing this year’s Wheat, which Malešević points to, is similar. The Cooperative Association of Vojvodina analyzed the costs of this year’s production in detail and concluded that it invested around 33 dinars per kilogram. This means the price would be sufficient to cover the investment costs in this year’s production with an average yield of five tons.
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