German farmers plant less winter wheat and rapeseed for 2024 crop

Source:  XM

Germany’s winter wheat area for the 2024 harvest has been reduced by 8.3% year on year to about 2.6 million hectares, Germany’s national statistics agency estimated on Friday.

Winter rapeseed sowing for the 2024 crop was also reduced, dropping by 5.8% to 1.1 million hectares, the agency said.

Reductions in planted areas had been expected after unfavourably rainy autumn weather and increased use of farmland for purposes including housebuilding and expansion of renewable energy infrastructure.

Germany is the European Union’s second largest wheat producer behind France and a major exporter. It is one of the EU’s largest producers of rapeseed, Europe’s most important oilseed for edible oil and biodiesel production.

“Heavy rain in autumn 2023 made winter grain sowings difficult in some regions and later weather meant some areas suffered from flooding and generally excessive water levels in fields,” the statistics agency said.

This meant farmers had to plough and replant some fields, which has resulted in increases to some spring grain sowings, it said.

Sowing of spring grains including wheat and barley increased by 19.6% to 1.1 million hectares, it said. This included a 13% increase in spring barley to 363,000 hectares.

Spring barley is generally used for malt and beer production.

Sowing of winter barley, largely used for animal feed, increased by 2.5% to 1.3 million hectares, the agency said.

Planting of grain maize (corn), often for market sales, rose by 11.2% to 518,000 hectares while sowing of silo maize, generally for on-farm use or biogas production, was up 4.9% at 2.1 million hectares.

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