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Steady growth in EU arable crop output to 2023 forecast

The arable crop production in the European Union will reach 316 million tonnes by 2023 and feed and food demand are expected to increase only marginally. This is according to the report ‘Prospects for Agricultural Markets and Income in the EU 2013-2023', published by the European Commission.

The report based its production forecast on low annual yield growth rates of 0.6% on average. EU cereals production in 2013 is expected to be 304.3mt, up 8% on 2012 from a marginally increased sown area.

Solid world demand

The medium-term outlook for arable crops is relatively positive thanks to solid world demand and firm prices. In the EU, feed and food demand are expected to increase only marginally, with the biofuel market remaining the most dynamic demand factor. On the supply side, growth depends on better yields, as arable area is expected to decline slightly (in line with the long-term trend).

Renewable Energy Directive

Overall, the projected growth in domestic consumption of cereals, oilseeds and sugar is largely dependent on the assumptions for bioenergy use. It is assumed that progress towards meeting the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) target of 10% of renewables in energy share will continue and as of 2020 biofuels will contribute to 8.5% of liquid transport fuels; the remainder will be met from other renewable energy sources, e.g. electric cars.

Low annual yield growth rates

The medium-term prospects for the EU cereals markets are characterised by relatively tight market conditions, low stocks and prices which are expected to remain above their historical averages. These developments are driven by moderate supply growth reaching 316 million tonnes by 2023, mainly the result of low annual yield growth rates (0.6% on average) and an increase in the domestic use of cereals in the EU, most notably due to growing demand for ethanol in the framework of the RED. Some reallocation between crops in the context of a stable overall cereal area is expected, with maize and common wheat further increasing their share (up to 18% and 41% respectively) at the expense of other cereals.

Oilseed market

Similar drivers impact upon the medium-term prospects for the EU oilseed markets. Supply growth is driven by moderate yield growth and to a lesser extent by a slightly expanding oilseed area. The expected increase in domestic use of oilseeds in the EU would also be driven by additional demand for vegetable oil as biodiesel feedstock, while food consumption of vegetable oil stays constant at best.

Source: EC

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