WARSAW, POLAND – Poland’s corn production in 2018-19 is forecast to fall 20% compared to the previous year due to drought conditions in key growing areas, according to a Nov. 20 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

USDA projects the country’s corn output at 3.2 million tonnes, down from 4.0 million tonnes in 2017-18.

“Throughout the spring and late summer of 2018, a severe regional drought adversely affected overall grain production in Poland,” USDA said. “Poland’s corn crop looked relatively good through July, when rainfall boosted plant development, but subsequent dry conditions in August stunted ear development and ultimately led to yield reductions.”

Average corn yield is forecast at 5.76 tonnes per hectare, down from 7.15 tonnes per hectare in 2017-18, according to USDA, which noted that Polish farmers generally do not irrigate their crops.

Corn production has a short history in Poland, although it has been steadily increasing since 2007, as planted area has more than doubled since then.

“The main corn drivers have been Poland’s fast-growing poultry industry, and increasing export demand,” USDA said.

“From 2009 to 2014, Poland’s corn area increased by 250%. Corn production is also expanding into new areas, notably eastern Poland, where previously corn was not a viable crop. More advanced inputs and better access to hybrids are raising interest among farmers in raising corn.”