The start of 2023 could remain challenging for EU farmers when coping with high input costs and what is likely to be a weaker demand, according to a report published by the European Commission today (Wednesday, October 5).

The short-term outlook for EU agriculture markets in 2022 indicates that, assuming normal weather conditions, it is expected that the yield grass growth could be slightly higher (0.6%) and compensate for a further reduction in the dairy herd (-0.8%).

However, milk collection could drop by 0.2% across member states. Due to the impact of hot and dry summer weather on grass availability and quality, many farmers already used part of their winter feed.

The milk content, both fat and protein, could also be impacted negatively, worsening the milk processing outlook even more, according to the EU market short-term outlook.

Dairy products

Among all dairy products, only cream production could grow within the EU, while anticipation of even higher processing costs for drying milk powders could likely cover for some current shortages for butter, but production is expected to drop.

EU cheese production could again become a preferred option, driven by high prices, while both exports and domestic use remain stable, according to the European Commission.

The competitiveness of EU milk powders is suffering from prevailing high prices, hampering exports, and therefore preventing production growth despite the positive growth of whey and domestic use of skimmed milk powders.

Meat products

Beef production in the EU is expected to decrease by 0.6% in 2022, mainly due to a structural adjustment in the beef and dairy sector, despite high beef prices.

EU exports should decrease by 1% due to record-high domestic prices and despite good export prospects to some existing high-value markets. Imports should grow by 10% and another 4% next year.


Sustained high feed costs as well as African Swine Fever (ASF) continue to limit the growth of EU pigmeat production. While China is resuming pre-ASF import levels, some EU exports go to the UK and other oversea destinations, despite high prices.

EU poultry production growth continues to be limited by high input prices of feed and energy, and Avian influenza. Additionally, very high poultry prices mean relatively less competitive exports.

Despite the historical low EU sheep and goat flock, slaughterings are not expected to go down in 2022. However, large differences between EU countries exist, according to the short-term outlook.

Arable crops

Usable cereal production is projected to be 5.1% lower at 270.9 million tonnes for 2022/2023, compared to the five-year average, and 7.8% lower than last year.

This is particularly due to drought conditions that affected maize in particular, dropping by 19.3% on the five-year average.

The use of cereals for feed is expected to fall by 2.3% year-on- year, due to a poor harvest, high cereal prices and an anticipated decrease in meat production.

However, trade of cereals could grow by 12.3% compared to the previous marketing year, including a 6.5% increase in exports and a 24.7% rise in imports.

Strong EU oilseed production, especially of rapeseed, is expected to reach 32.2 million tonnes in 2022/23, which is 8.5% above the five-year average, according to the short-term outlook.