BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — Uncertainty stemming from the war in Ukraine clouds the outlook for grain production and trade in the European Union, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Ukraine, which accounts on average for more than 40% of the EU’s total grain import needs, has exported very little grain or related inputs since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24, the report said.
The USDA said this development has raised concerns over spring corn plantings in the EU for the 2022-23 marketing year as the hostilities “limit labor force and inputs delivery” for items such as diesel, certified seeds and fertilizers.
Because of the conflict, the EU’s normal trade flows for grain have been severely disrupted as EU grain importers have been forced to look for alternative suppliers in North America and South America, the report said.
The EU also is helping fill the export void caused by the war, and the USDA said it projects total grain exports from the Member States to reach 45.7 million tonnes in 2022-23, a 5% decrease from this year but an increase compared with 2020-21.
The report also showed projected total grain ending stocks to remain tight in 2022-23 at 27.9 million tonnes, which is slightly lower than this year’s total.
“The final EU grain stocks figure may be a combination of potential yield reduction, new alternative sources for feed grain imports, the amount of EU grain exports, and the pace at which the internal demand contracts in response to soaring feed and food prices,” the USDA said.