BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — While total agricultural land use in the E.U. continues to decline, larger yields could result in an increase in production, according to the E.U. Agricultural Outlook 2019-30 released on Dec. 10.

The report provides an outlook for major E.U. agricultural markets and for agricultural income until 2030. It aims to serve as a baseline for policy and market analysis and evaluation, and is based on the existing policy framework and on expected macroeconomic trends.

Total agricultural land use is expected to continue its decline, but at a slower pace than in the past decade. Land use is expected to reach 178 million hectares by 2030.

The total E.U. area of oilseeds, permanent grassland and permanent crops is set to further decline, according to the report. By contrast, the use of land for cereals, protein crops and fodder is expected to grow.

The E.U. market for cereals will grow, with further shifts between products and increasing demand for feed and industrial uses.

The overall cereal area is projected to slightly increase (about 1%) and reach 55.6 million hectares. The pulses area is due to expand the most (+4% per year over the outlook period), though at a slower pace than the previous decade and reach 2.4 million hectares in 2030.

Wheat and maize growing areas are projected to expand at the expense of other cereals. Soft wheat area could reach 23.8 million hectares while maize is expected to reach 8.8 million hectares thanks to a strengthened demand for both animal feed and industrial purposes, the outlook said.

In contrast, durum wheat and barley areas could slightly decline by around 0.5% annually, leading to 11.6 million hectares of barley and 2.4 million hectares of durum wheat in 2030.

Total E.U. cereal production could reach 320 million tonnes by 2030. More competition from the other main producing regions, such as the Black Sea, will translate in a moderate increase of E.U. exports.

The strong growth in E.U. production of protein crops is projected to continue and reach 6.3 million tonnes in the medium term. Strong demand for plant protein products and more locally produced protein sources for feed and human consumption will be the main drivers.

Oilseed planted area will decrease slightly to 11.4 million hectares but production could remain stable in the medium term, the report said.

Overall, production of oilseeds could remain at the level of the 2017-19 average, at 32 million tonnes, with a substantial increase of soybean production that could hit 4.1 million tonnes at the end of the outlook period, replacing a declining rapeseed production

“The increase in demand for oilseed crushing is due to be met by additional imports, while the volume of imported meals could decline,” according to the report.

Feed demand will be driven by consumers’ demands on farming practices. Feed differentiation from locally-produced, GM-free and organic crops will increase domestic feed production, despite mixed trends in animal production.

Total feed use could reach 260 million tonnes in the medium term, driven by increased inclusion of pulses and strong growth in soybean meals.

With growing global demand and shifts in global trade flows, the E.U. will have opportunities to gain market shares in some export markets while facing increased competition in others.