According the European Union agricultural outlook for 2020-30 report, EU production growth of arable crops is expected to be limited over the next decade. Even though the agricultural area will decline, total EU cereal production is expected to remain stable over the outlook period, at 278 million t. Digitisation will be at the heart of yield productivity gains, improved labour conditions and higher environmental standards.
Total agricultural land is expected to decline by 0.5 million ha in the EU over the outlook period, reaching 161.2 million ha, the European Commission report said. In parallel, the EU forest area is expected to continue expanding and reach 161 million ha, resulting with as much forest as agricultural area in the EU in 2030. As for pasture and fodder areas, they are expected to increase, while land dedicated to arable crops should decline.
Total EU cereal production is expected to remain stable over the outlook period, at 278 million t. Even though the agricultural area will decline, yields will increase thanks to enhanced crop rotations, improved soil management and an increased use of decision support tools. EU total consumption should stabilise at 260 million t by 2030, with a higher food use. As for trade, EU exports are due to strengthen with EU and world prices converging as well as proximity to importing markets such as the Mediterranean region and sub-Saharan Africa.
Total EU cereal area is expected to decrease to 51.0 million ha in the 2020 -2030 decade. This is mainly driven by significant declines in durum and barley areas, where the downward trend continues. Soft wheat area is also expected to slightly go down. Total EU wheat area could reach 21 million ha in 2030 (-1.6% compared to 2020).
The main producing countries have been reducing their share of wheat in the total cereals area in recent years (for example in France and Germany), while Poland is increasing its wheat area. Concerning corn, the total area should expand across the EU and could reach 8.8 million ha to meet the increasing feed and industry demand. The share of other cereals (oats, rye, sorghum and others) is expected to remain stable in order to meet the growing demand for food and feed purposes.
Regarding oilseeds, total EU production is projected to increase thanks to sunflower and soy production growing. With a slight rise of oilseed imports, crushing volumes should increase, with a sustained demand for oilseed oil in the EU. Finally, consumption of vegetable oils is expected to decline, mostly due to decreasing palm oil imports.
EU protein crops are projected to grow significantly. Production will be driven by a large increase in area and yield improvements. The strong demand for innovative plant protein products and locally-produced protein sources should result in a 30% consumption rise.