The soyabean production area in the European Union (EU) has continued to expand in almost all member states this year, according to EU Commission data reported by the Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) on 1 July.

At almost 958,000M ha, the area planted with soyabeans in 2021 was up 2% year-on-year and had more than doubled over the past decade, according to the EU Commission report.

Italy remained the largest EU soyabean producer with an area of around 286,000ha – an increase of 11% – and accounted for around 30% of the total EU soyabean planted area, the report said.

Other EU member states also saw an expansion in their soyabean area, according to the data. Slovakia, for example, had recorded an increase of almost 12% to 57,000ha while Austria had seen a 10% expansion to 76,000ha.

German producers also dedicated more land to soyabeans – at 36,000ha, an increase of 9% – than they had the previous year.

After expanding their soyabean area in 2020, Romanian farmers reduced the area slightly by 3% in 2021, according to the data.

With an estimated 160,000ha, Romania continued to be the third largest EU soyabean-producing country, after France with 172,000ha, the report said.

According to research by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft), the EU soyabean harvest was also likely to increase due to the expansion in production area in many EU countries.

Germany, for example, had not harvested any significant amount of soyabeans until 2016. This year, the EU Commission expected the country to harvest 101,000 tonnes – a doubling in output over five years.

Meanwhile, Romania was expected to see the biggest increase in production, of more than 20% to 384,000 tonnes.

In 2021, harvests are expected to grow by 11% in France (despite a reduction in area), 10% in Austria and 7% in Germany, according to the report.

UFOP welcomed the recent upward trend in European soyabean farming, but said there was still a need to invest in soyabean breeding to develop regionally adapted and competitive varieties for different growing areas, including the northern regions of Germany.