BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – Driven by the demand for feed, E.U. cereals production is expected to continue growing, reaching 341 million tonnes by 2030, according to the E.U. Agricultural Outlook report released at the end of December.

Along with feed demand, good export prospects (particularly for wheat) and increasing use of cereals in industry will drive increases in production.

“However, stronger growth will be held back by the limited potential for expanding the areas under cultivation and by slower yield growth in the E.U. than in other regions of the world,” the report said.

E.U. cereal demand is expected to increase by 10% by 2030, compared to the 2012-17 average, from 283.5 million tonnes in 2017 to 308.5 million tonnes in 2030.

Feed demand will continue due to predicted increases in dairy and meat production. Export demand is predicted up 35% compared to the average of the last five years from 38 million tonnes in 2017 to 52.8 million tonnes in 2030.

Stocks are expected to stabilize below historical levels, especially for wheat and barley. Prices are expected to recover from current lows, with occasional price spikes due to climate events, the report said.

Lower demand for vegetable oils for biofuels is expected to impact the overall market, the report said. Production is closely linked to the overall E.U. policy on biofuels, which is currently being updated. It is difficult to predict how the market will develop.

The report also forecasts a shift away from rapeseed toward soybeans. Production of soybeans is expected to increase from 2.7 million tonnes in 2017 to 3 million tonnes in 2030.

“However, the increase is not expected to be enough to help the overall oilseed market grow by 2030, due to the decline in rapeseed production,” the report said. “Consumption is expected to stabilize, with a projected slight increase from 51.3 million tonnes in 2017 to 51.8 million tonnes in 2030.”

Increasing demand for protein crops will be met by increasing soybean imports and increasing domestic production. Protein crops experienced a strong revival with record production in 2017-18, the report said.

“Consumer demand for products derived from animals that are not fed with genetically modified feed continues to grow, and this should benefit the E.U. protein crop sector in the future,” the report said.

The amount of land used for agricultural purposes in the E.U. will continue to fall between now and 2030, as a result of increasing urbanization in Europe. The agricultural area in the E.U. has declined over the past few years, and this trend will continue to 2030.

Land used for agricultural purposes will drop from its current level of 176 million hectares to 172 million hectares. The amount of arable land will drop from 106.5 million hectares in 2017 to 104 million hectares in 2030.

The entire report is available here.