Seed production in EU - 2018

In 2018, European seed production areas increase by 3 % to 2 096 032 ha. Growth is significant in most countries except in Romania (-3 %), Bulgaria (-15 %), Greece (-3 %), Estonia (-2 %) and Ireland (-1, 4 %). The regressions observed last year in some countries have been compensated.

Major producing countries are France, the first producer with 356 000 ha (+0,3 %) ahead of Italy (211 360 ha; +0, 6  %), vegetable and floral seeds not included.

Cereals are the first seed production with 1 053 200 ha, followed by forage and turf species (505 230 ha). Maize is back in third place with 139 620 ha ahead of oilseeds (132 670 ha) and potatoes (119 615 ha).

 

Wheat is the first species produced despite a decline in area in the last two years. The decrease is mainly due to durum wheat down 10 %, while common wheat areas remain stable to 495 700 ha. The decline is significant in France (-7 %), Bulgaria (-10 %) and Denmark (-22 %), but significant increases are observed in Czech Republic (+11 %), Hungary (+12 %), Slovakia (+15 %), Austria (+13 %) and Croatia (+12 %). The area of durum wheat regresses to 105 820 ha. The majority of countries is impacted but especially Italy, the first producer, with a loss of 9 % (57 870 ha) and France with a drop of 23 % (10 205 ha). Conversely, areas progress in Hungary (+45 %), Austria (+5 %), Sweden (+22 %), Bulgaria (+71 %) and Portugal (+93 %).

Barley seed production area increases by 5 % and reaches 279 710 ha. The strongest growth is observed in the United Kingdom (+32 %), Sweden (+16 %), Finland (+27 %) and the Baltic States (+32 %) where areas have lost 12 % last year. Conversely, in Romania, Italy and France barley areas fell by 11 %, 19 % and 6 % respectively. The main producers are Spain, France and Germany.

Maize seed production area gains 7 % to 139 615 ha after losing 5 % last year. All countries show a growth except Poland (-6 %), Bulgaria (-50 %), Slovenia (-9 %) and Greece (-71 %). In France, the leading producer (43 % of EU production) and first exporting EU country, the area increases by 2 % to 60 520 ha. Hungary comes in second place with 24 816 ha (+16 %), followed by Romania with 23 830 ha (+8 %). The top three producing countries account for 78 % of the European area in corn seed production.

International demand for oilseed seeds soaring boosts the production of sunflower and rapeseed seeds. Sunflower takes over the head of the oleaginous species produced in EU with 48 470 ha. Soybean comes second with 41 375 ha followed by rapeseed with 23 960 ha.

For the third consecutive year, sunflower seed production area are booming (+20 %). All producing countries record a significant increase, but France remains market leader with 20 180 ha (+12 %) ahead of Spain and Romania (9 630 ha; +52 %). Rapeseed seed production area continue to grow substantially in most countries: France (+47 %), Germany (+31 %), Hungary (+32 %) and Italy (+109 %). France is leader with 14 440 ha, followed by Germany (3 350 ha).

Soybean seed production area continues to decline for the third consecutive year (-6 %). While last year, a majority of countries had a decline in their area, the situation in 2018 is caused largely by a decrease of 43 % in Romania (-4 090 ha). At the same time, there are significant increases in Croatia (+14 %), Czech Republic (+32 %) and Slovakia (+15 %). In the United Kingdom, area jumps from 277 ha to 1 200 ha. In Italy, the main producer, area remains stable at 11 310 ha. Croatia is in third place with 5 320 ha behind Romania (5 400 ha) and ahead of France (4 730 ha) and Hungary (4 395 ha).

European areas in seed production of grasses and legumes have been steadily increasing since 2012 and reach 453 420 ha in 2018. The legumes seed production area increases by 9 % to 197 835 ha. Alfalfa, which dominates with 58 % of legume seed production (115 500 ha, +10 %), is mainly produced in Italy, France and Spain (respectively 43 %, 23 % and 13 % of the EU alfalfa area). The production of clover seeds covers 81 500 ha (+8 %), in particular red clover (46 %), Egyptian clover (25 %) and crimson clover (18 %). Italy and the Czech Republic are leaders with 21 570 ha (+13 %) and 13 595 ha (-9 %). France is third with 11 970 ha (+6 %). Vetch seed production area continues to decline to 28 250 ha (-13 %). The common vetch represents 88 %, 24 885 ha. Spain is by far the leading producer of vetch seeds with 17 910 ha, followed by Greece (3 430 ha), Italy (1 955 ha) and France (1 480 ha).

Forage grasses area increases by 10 % to 227 130 ha. Ryegrass area represent 119 545 ha (+17 % for perennial, +9 % for Italian, -1 % for hybrid ryegrass) and fescues area reaches 68 460 ha (+28 %). One third of forage grasses area is in Denmark with 84 065 ha (+22 %), followed by Poland (27 020 ha, +22 %) and Germany (25 216 ha, +2 %).

The production area of seed potatoes in the EU expands by 2 % to 119 650 ha.

The Netherlands dominate the European and international marketplace. The Netherlands are the largest producer in EU with 41 740 ha (+3 %). They represent 35 % of EU production area. Then come France (21 580 ha, +4 %), Germany (16 880 ha, +3 %) and the United Kingdom (14 030 ha, -3 %).

On the global market, European exports reached €7,4 Billion in 2018 (+3  %), with a trade surplus of €1,9 billion. The Netherlands, France and Germany are the more significant exporting countries with respectively 33 %, 23 % and 11 % of the total EU seed exports in value, all species included. Vegetables are the first exported species group (34 % of the exports in value), followed by corn (18 %) and oilseeds (14 %). Exports of vegetables and oilseeds grow by 7 % and 5 %, respectively. Corn seed exports progress by 3 %.

[1] Since Spain has not submitted its data so far, an estimate has been made of its areas based on the overall evolution of other countries.

 

Summary note made by GNIS (FR)

 

"Seed production in EU - 2018: download the presentation"

 


Evolution of seed production area in the European Union


E.U area for seed production-top 10 producing member states


E.U area for seed production by species

 


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