Austria: A New Record of Soybeans Acreage

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Jan 23, 2023 | Agricultural Markets

Reading time: 2 minutes

Austrian Soybean acreage has been expanded to 92,488 hectares for 2022. The areas of the previous year were exceeded by 16,702 hectares, an increase of 22 percent. According to estimates by the Austrian Soya Association, under normal conditions, this expansion of cultivation can be expected to yield an additional 45,000 tons. This will further reduce the protein gap in Austria.

Four-fifths of the increase is due to conventional farmers. Given the currently high fertilizer prices, soybeans benefit, in particular, from the fact that they can do without nitrogen fertilizers. Organic farmers cultivate 35% of the domestic soya areas. A total of 14,763 farmers cultivated soy on their fields, which was 2,591 more than in the previous year, a new record. Cultivation is carried out in every federal state from Lake Neusiedl to Lake Constance. On average, every fourth farmer incorporated Soybeans into their crop rotation.

The Soybean is continuing its upward trend in Austria and, according to the most recent area survey by the AMA, is the clear winner of last year’s growing season. “The jump of 16,700 hectares has never been seen before on this scale. 92,488 hectares are a new record in Austria,” says Karl Fischer, Chairman of the Soy Association from Austria. The area under cultivation of this most protein-rich crop has increased fivefold in the last 15 years. Soy is thus expanding its position in Austria’s agriculture and is consistently the fourth largest field crop after corn, wheat, and barley. It is already in second place among organic farmers.

CropRadar measured a cultivated area of more than 90,000 ha in Austria for 2022. For the first time, the largest federal state is Lower Austria, with about one-third of the cultivated area. With the increase in Soybean cultivation, Austria is in line with the European trend. The demand for domestic non-GM soy, the high fertilizer prices, and also the increasingly hot and dry climatic conditions are leading to an increase in cultivation areas in many European countries.

At 24%, the areas of conventional farmers have increased more than those of their colleagues from organic farming. A strong argument for the expansion was certainly the substantial increase in fertilizer costs, which in some cases were four times higher than in previous years. The Soybean does not need nitrogen fertilizer because it can bind nitrogen from the air via bacteria at the root. Furthermore, the strong demand from the animal feed sector, but also the increasing perspectives in the production of high-quality food from Soybeans, acted as a significant lever for the expansion of cultivation.

The number of Soybean farmers in Austria increased by 2,591 to 14,763. This means that every fourth farmer in Austria has Soybeans in his fields. On average, a local farmer cultivates 6.26 hectares of Soybeans on his fields, 5.23 hectares for conventional farmers, and 9.89 hectares for organic farmers.

Austrian Soybeans Trade

In 2020, Austria imported Soybeans worth $71.2 million, becoming the 41st most significant importer of Soybeans in the world. In the same year, Soybeans was Austria’s 390th most imported product. Austria imports Soybeans primarily from: Hungary ($18.2 million), Croatia ($17.2 million), Romania ($9.85 million), Slovakia ($6.99 million), and Ukraine ($5.47 million).

The same year, Austria exported Soybeans worth $68.3 million, making it the 17th largest exporter of Soybeans in the world. In the same year, Soybeans was the 334th most shipped product in Austria. The leading destination of Soybeans exports from Austria is Germany ($41.9 million), Italy ($5.65 million), Belgium ($4.12 million), Czechia ($2.38 million), and Slovakia ($2.19 million).

Other sources: OTS

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