EU soyabean area at 10-year high

The EU’s soyabean area has tripled over the past 10 years to reach almost 1M ha this year, according to information published by the European Commission.

Estimates for the EU’s 2019 soyabean planted area were 991,730ha, compared with 955,290ha in 2018, a rise of 4%.

“By far the most soyabeans are grown in Italy,” Germany’s Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) said in a press release on 16 July. “The country accounts for just less than a third of the total EU soya area. The second largest soyabean producer is Romania, with 173,000ha dedicated to cultivation. Germany has recorded a 25% increase in area [in 2019] from the previous year to 30,000ha. This compares to a soyabean area of 12,000ha in 2015.”

Croatia, where soyabeans were produced on 85,000ha, saw the second largest increase, of 10.3%, UFOP said. The only major soya producing country recording a decline in planted area was Hungary, which saw a 6,000ha decrease.

According to Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (AMI), the large increases in soya area in many EU regions would result in larger harvests, UFOP said.

“In Germany, the harvest could rise almost one third to 78,000 tonnes. Despite the big increase in area in Croatia, the Croatian harvest is expected to fall 2% short of last year's crop due to weather-induced drops in yield. Romania will presumably also harvest fewer soyabeans, although the land devoted to growing soyabeans increased compared to 2018.

“The EU projects the biggest decline in production, of 17%, for Hungary. This is not surprising, however, given the 10% decline in area.”

UFOP called for an adequate expansion of the German subsidies policy for domestic protein plants that aimed to advance not only soyabeans, but grain legumes in general, as a genetically modified-free source of protein.