Poland’s Cereal Crops Remain Strong Feb. 10, 2014
Poland’s 2013 grains production is estimated at 28.4 million metric tons, the second consecutive year of very good cereals crops. Despite less acreage the level of total grain production only fell off 0.4 percent from last year’s record. Higher than average yields on winter cereals off-set smaller harvests on spring crops. In 2014 total winter cereals acreage remains on par with 2013 acreage. The general health of plants is assessed as good despite winter’s onset finally in January.
Area and production of grains
In 2013 total domestic cereal production (including corn) amounted to 28.4 million metric tons (MMT), a 0.4 percent decrease in comparison with the previous year. However this level of output exceeds the average cereal production achieved in the years 2006-2010 by 6.3 percent.
In 2013, the decline in cereal production resulted from a smaller acreage planted than in the previous year. In 2013, area sown amounted to 7.5 million hectares (Ha) or 2.6 percent less than that sown in 2012. In comparison to the years 2006-10, acreage of cereals in Poland decreased by 9.7 percent, or by about 0.8 million Ha. There is an ongoing process of cereal production intensification in Poland. Despite decreasing crop area, grain production has been showing an upward trend since Poland’s EU accession.
In 2013 production of winter crops increased by 28 percent in relation to the year 2012. Winter grains yielded significantly higher than the average of previous years. Production of spring cereals decreased by 30 percent, which was caused by a late spring which led to delays in sowings and low yields. Despite adverse weather conditions in spring and early summer (floods, heavy rains) the remaining vegetation period was favorable enough for the plants to recover. The average yield for both winter and spring cereals was estimated at 2.7 percent higher than last year and amounted to 3.8 MT per Ha.
The structure of cereal production has changed in the last three years in Poland. Over this time corn acreage expanded and its share in grain production increased rapidly. In 2012, corn share of total crop production increased significantly – to 14.4 percent, up from 2011 level of 9.3 percent.
Technological advances in cultivation methods are important factors for advancing yields. Demand from the bio-fuel sector has been the main impetus for the development of the corn crop. In Poland corn is the basic raw material for bio-ethanol production. In 2012 Poland produced a record of almost four million tons of corn (67 percent more than produced in 2011). According to government data, the year 2013 set another record with production of four million tons – the highest level in history.
There are differences in estimations for the 2013 corn crop between the government’s Main Statistical Office (MSO) and the stakeholders. According to the industry 2013 corn production was lower than in the previous year by 2.5 percent, resulting from the lower assessed average yield (-13 percent) and by decreased acreage. According to the MSO in 2013 the average corn yield was 10.5 percent lower than in 2012 yielding 6.58 MT per Ha.
Wheat harvest in 2013 was estimated at 9.5 MMT, 10.4 percent higher than in 2012. The year 2012 was very unfavorable for wheat producers in Poland, due to unexpected loss of winter wheat crop. Due to the late freeze harvested acreage was reduced by 558 thousand hectares, or by 29 percent. In 2012 wheat production decreased significantly, by about 8 percent in relation to 2011. Despite the higher 2013 harvest, the total supply of wheat in the season 2013/14 will be close to that from the previous year due to the low initial stock level.
For 2014, the preliminary MSO’s assessment of winter cereals acreage sown is on par of previous years at 4.4 million hectares. Winter triticale acreage is up by six percent, barley remains flat, but rye, winter wheat, and winter mixed grains are down one percent, three percent and 40 percent, respectively.
Poland has experienced an unusually mild winter through mid-January 2014 with temperatures remaining above freezing. Since mid-January temperatures dropped to mostly single digits at night. However the sudden weather change has not affected plants to date as the general condition of winter crops remains similar to that reported this time of year in previous years. Winter wheat, which is particularly sensitive to sudden changes in temperature, appears to be in good shape with a solid crop still expected