The Bad Harvest Decreased Estonian Wheat Export Potentia March 30, 2017
Estonian farmers can expect good harvest for MY2017/18. Total production of wheat, rye, mixed grains, triticale, barley and oats in MY 2017/18 is forecast to amount to 1.26 million MT. Estonia is a net exporter of grains except for corn and triticale and became an important player on the wheat trade market in the last four years. For MY 2016/17 total grain exports decreased as a result of supply shortages due to a very bad harvest. For MY 2017/18 Estonian wheat export potential is forecast higher than in the previous year.
Area and production of grains
Estonian farmers can expect good harvest for MY 2017/18. In late autumn 2016 plant health was reported well. Weather conditions have been favorable for grain plantings so far, and at the end of March 2017 no winterkills were reported. The yield forecast is closer to average yields without extreme weather conditions. It is forecast that total grain production will increase to 1.3 million MT, 35 percent more than last year. The higher grain production forecast comes out from a more average level of yield expectations, much larger than in the very bad harvest of MY 2016/17. The acreage of grain plantings is forecast lower than the previous year by 1.7 percent.
In MY 2016/17 Estonia produced 0.9 million MT of grains, a 39 percent decrease in comparison with MY 2015/16. In the previous MY 2015/16 the country registered a record grain crop. The total grain acreage for the MY 2016/17 crop is estimated at 350,000 Ha, 1 percent increase in comparison with the previous year. The larger planting area was mostly the result of increased barley and mixed grains acreage at the expense of other grains and rapeseed. The sown area of wheat decreased to 165,000 Ha, 3 percent less than in MY 2015/16. The sown area of barley increased by 3 percent and amounted to 135,000 Ha. The sown area of rye decreased by 14 percent and amounted to 12,000 Ha. In MY 2016/17 despite a larger planted area, the grain harvest was lower due to much lower yields. Due to unfavorable weather conditions, the average yield fell to 2.66 MT per Ha in MY 2016/17, from 4.44 in the previous year. The biggest share in total production was wheat (49 percent of total output) and barley (38 percent). They are followed by minor grains like oats, rye and mixed grains and triticale with 13 percent of share in production.
Estonia is a net exporter of grains except for corn and triticale and became an important player on the wheat trade market in the last four years. For MY 2016/17 total grain exports decreased as a result of supply shortages due to a very bad harvest. Total grain exports are estimated at 0.5 million MT for MY 2016/17. This is a 48 percent decrease after record exports in MY 2015/16. Wheat’s share in total exports exceeded 56 percent and barley 38 percent. Small amounts of rye and oats are also exported. The share of out of EU countries has increased in the past few years significantly and reached over 60 percent for MY 2015/16. Imports by Estonia are very small. For MY 2016/17 they are estimated at 0.07 million MT. It is mostly soft wheat for pasta and other food use.
Wheat production for MY 2017/18 is forecast at 0.66 million MT, 45 percent more in comparison with the previous year. The acreage of wheat plantings is forecast larger by 3 percent than in MY 2016/17. Yields were calculated on the average results of past years. No winterkills were reported and plant health is assessed well. In MY 2016/17 the total wheat production fell to 0.46 million MT after a record level 0.81 million MT in 2016/17. The quality of grain was not good, mostly for feed supply. The bad harvest decreased Estonian wheat export potential. For MY 2016/17 wheat exports are estimated at 0.28 million MT, 49 percent less than in the previous year. The main destination of sales used to be EU countries, but for MY 2015/16 their share of total Estonian wheat exports diminished to 40 percent. Among non EU countries, Algeria was the most important buyer taking a share of 31 percent of Estonian wheat sales.
It is forecast that in MY 2017/18 barley production will amount to 450,000 MT, 26 percent more than in the previous year. The acreage is forecast to stay in line with 2016/17 planting area, estimated at 135,000 Ha. Production and acreage of barley vary greatly year by year, depending on the feed wheat market situation mostly. The record year for barley production was MY2015/16 with a crop of 557,000 MT and 131,000 Ha acreage, both the highest in history. Barley consumption is oriented to feed use, industrial applications and on farm.
Oat acreage has diminished in the last few years in Estonia, from 35,000 Ha in MY 2013/14 to 30,000 Ha in MY 2017/18. Oat is used for on farm feed consumption. In good harvest years production surpluses are sold mostly to Denmark, Spain and Latvia. In MY 2015/16 Estonia exported 38,000 MT of oat, almost all to EU countries. In MY 2015/16 7,000 MT of oat was exported to the U.S. It is forecast that for MY 2017/18 oat production will amount to 75,000 MT, increasing by 15 percent. Significant changes in domestic demand are not foreseen.
MY- Estonian local marketing year is July to June except for corn which follows on October to September calendar.