Spain Corn: Still Ukraine or Latin America?


Oct 26, 2022 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minute

Among the European Union countries, Spain has the second largest proportion of land devoted to agricultural purposes, only behind France.    However, only about 17 percent of Spain’s cultivated land was irrigated, and Corn was planted in half of the irrigated area. Spain’s cereal production in the current 2021/22 marketing year, including maize, was forecast to reach almost 24 million tons.

Spain’s main Corn cultivation area is located in the country’s northeast, around the Ebro River valley, with around 78,956 hectares. The southwest region around the Guadiana and Guadalquivir River valleys is the second-largest area, where approximately 11,323 ha and 10,518 ha are used for Corn cultivation, respectively. For the past 18 years, the acreage dedicated to Corn varieties has increased from 4.8 percent in 1998 to about 30 percent in the last five years. However, some analysts note that the high production costs of this crop and the limited water available for irrigation may force maize production to be abandoned in some areas, especially in Central Spain.

Compared to the previous season, Corn area is mostly cultivated under irrigation. The combination of sufficient levels of storage water, improved margins, and the extensive use of Corn as a second crop, especially in the Ebro Valley, resulted in a slightly larger area. In 2020, Castile and Leon were the Spanish autonomous community that most produced Corn that year, with a total amount of approximately 1.5 million tons. Andalusia followed relatively closely behind, with an annual volume of 1.06 million tons, while the third place went to Aragon (1 million tons). The following performers were Extremadura (0.5 million tons), Catalonia (0.4 million tons), Castile-La Mancha (0.2 million tons), Navarre (0.2 million tons), and Galicia (0.1 million tons). La Rioja, Region of Valencia, and Canary Islands have a small production of Corn.

In 2021, Spain’s Corn production was 4.2 million tons. COCERAL put Spanish Corn production in 2022 at 3.62 million tons. The country’s grain production mainly goes to its domestic usage and needed more animal feed. The European Commission forecasts lower yield projections for Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia, and heat waves worsened drought and highly affected Corn corps.

Spain Corn: Still Ukraine or Latin America?

Spain Corn Trading Pattern

Ukraine is the major supplier of Spain’s cattle feed Corn. The country supplies almost a quarter of the Corn import of Spain alone. However, the war has been affecting the two country’s trade. Therefore, European Union countries are seeking other options, which are major suppliers of Latin American countries. However, the EU applied restrictions for those countries due to pesticide usage. Some Capital cities such as Madrid and Brussels pressed the EU to ease this restriction and started working to alleviate food shortage.

In March 2022, Argentina’s Corn exporters confirmed that they had held talks with Spain’s Government and its industry on possible Corn sales and were ready to move forward. Gustavo Idigoras, head of the CIARA-CEC grains export and crushing chamber, said Argentina would have ample supplies of 2021/22 Corn, currently being harvested, to meet any shortfall in Spain.

In 2021, Ukraine supplied Spain with nearly 1.9 million tons of Corn which is crucial for its livestock sector, one of the biggest in Europe. However, like other countries, Spain needed a backup plan, and Brazil and Argentina became their target country for a temporary need. According to AgFlow data, Ukraine led the Spain’ Corn import market with 2.6 million tons in 2021 – 2022, followed by Brazil (2.2 million tons), Romania (1.3 million tons), Argentina (0.6 million tons), and the United States (0.4 million tons).

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