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Copa-Cogeca: European harvest poised in 2024

Very poor year for EU cereals, stable for oilseeds, positive for protein crops. But it could get worse

Poor prospects for cereals, stable for oilseeds and positive for protein crops, but the situation could worsen. This is, in a nutshell, the analysis of the experts of the COPA and Cogeca working groups who focused on cereals, oilseeds and protein crops with a one-year "very poor for EU cereals in 2024, a stable year for oilseeds while for protein crops the results should be more positive". But the situation, as experts say, "could get even worse". 


Cereal production in the EU-27 is expected to reach 257.3 million tonnes, a decrease of 4.7% compared to the 2023 harvest. Meanwhile, oilseed production is expected to decrease by 1% with 31.9 million tons, while protein crops will increase by 13% with 3.9 million tons. 

Cereal yields are currently expected to drop slightly in 2024 (-1.2%) and, considering a decrease in the area sown (-3.5%), the results for the harvest should be lower than 2023. Interestingly, the Copa-Cogeca statement underlines, "a fair decrease in wheat production (-6.3%) and barley (-9%), while corn remains stable (-0.5%) and oats slightly increased (+21.2%)". 

As regards the geographical distribution of production, the report adds that most of the northern Member States (Belgium, France, Denmark, Germany) and the Central and Eastern European countries have recorded a fall in production, sometimes quite consequent (-3 million tonnes for Poland, -9 million tonnes for France): this is not really compensated by the sharp increase in production in Spain compared to 2023 (+3 million tonnes for Spain). 

"Overall -explains the note-, this places 2024 below 2023 (which was already a poor year), but also far below the average of the grain production of the last 5 years (-8.4%)". This already worrying forecast, add the experts of the Copa-Cogeca, "could worsen in the coming weeks and months, due to the complicated weather events and the impossibility of working in the fields; sowing has therefore been delayed in many areas, making yields very sensitive to weather conditions in the coming weeks".


For oilseeds the situation is quite stable with a small decrease in surface area (-1.6%) but with a slight improvement in yields (+0.7%) which led to a small decrease in production compared to 2023 (-1%) mainly due to a reduction in both the area sown and the yields of rapeseed. However, compared to the five-year average, this year remains quite positive (+6.3%). 
As for the situation in the individual Member States, it is quite uniform: we can only note a significant increase in Spain (+50% year on year) explained by the extremely poor year they had in 2022, while in Poland the reduction in production is quite high compared to other countries (-15% year on year). 

Protein crops

As for protein crops, the overall situation is very positive, except in France, where we expect a 16% reduction on an annual basis, mainly due to yields. " However, both for oilseeds and protein crops, as for cereals, the coming weeks will be crucial and could change the situation", concludes the Copa Cogeca.

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EFA News - European Food Agency