Another year of global cereal abundance on the cards

European cereal production is expected to be below average for another year, according to the summer short-term outlook report published by the European Commission.

Due to adverse weather conditions in various regions in Europe, cereal production is likely to be slightly below average in 2017/2018 for the second year running, the report revealed. And, as a result, EU exports will be down and EU stocks are expected to tighten.

However, cereals are expected to be in ample supply on the global stage and world prices are not expected to rise significantly.

The global cereal harvest is estimated to be about 2,050 million tonnes for 2017/2018. Although this figure is approximately 3% lower than the 2016/2017 harvest, a high level of supplies following two ample harvests suggests global supplies will remain strong.

2016/2017 has been confirmed as having the largest global cereal harvest in history. Despite record consumption levels, global stocks are expected to rise further at the end of 2016/2017 to over 500 million tonnes, the report states.

Stocks at the end of 2017/2018 are projected to fall only slightly compared to the current year, the EU Commission report states.

Between 736 and 740 million tonnes of wheat is expected to be produced globally in 2017/2018 – 2% lower than last year’s record crop.

EU cereal harvest slightly below average in 2016/2017

The EU produced 294.6 million tonnes of cereals last harvest, according to the European Commission. This figure is 2% below the last five-year average.

The publication reports, overall, EU harvests of maize and common wheat were substantially lower than average, while the output of barley was good.

In 2016/2017, 134.4 million tonnes of common wheat was produced in the EU. Barley production remained at a high level, with around 60 million tonnes harvested.

Spain and Romania saw particularly good harvests – nearly 30% above the last five-year average. However, output fell in France by 9%.

The EU’s total cereal production is expected to be 298 million tonnes in 2017/2018 – 3.4 million tonnes more than the year previous.

Common wheat production is returning to a higher level than last year, at 139 million tonnes – up 3%. However, barley production is expected to fall to its lowest level since 2012/2013 to 57 million tonnes – 4% lower than last year.

Animal feed remains the main use of cereals

A total of 173 million tonnes of cereals – principally wheat, maize and barley – were used for animal feed in the EU in 2016/2017.

The quantity of barley used for feed increased significantly because of a drop in exports and the relatively large EU harvest. However, the amount of wheat used for feed decreased due to limited availability.

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