Seed production in EU - 2020

In 2020, the areas for the production of field seeds within the European Union increased by 3 % to 2 180 100 ha (vegetable and floral seeds not included). France is the first seed producer country with 362 400 ha (+2 %).

The Italian area regained a growth trend (+ 4 %) and total 198 975 ha, while Germany came back in third position despite an increase of 10 % to 195 930 ha. Growth is observed in the majority of countries, but more sustained in Eastern European countries, notably Poland (+ 13 %), Romania (+ 16 %) and Bulgaria (+ 14 %).

France is a leader in seeds for cereals, corn, oilseeds and fiber crops. Denmark dominates the forage grasses market, Italy small-grains legumes and beets, Germany in protein crops and the Netherlands in potatoes.

Cereals are well ahead of the species produced with a total which remains stable in 2020 at 1 066 915 ha (-0.6 %). common wheat, down 2 %, represents 46,5 % of the area with 496 165 ha, ahead of barley which remains stable at 287 990 ha and durum wheat down 6 % to 90 375 ha. All species combined, France is first in cereals with a total of 120 550 ha, but loses its leadership in soft wheat in favor of Romania, whose surface area jumped by 29 % to 83 530 ha. Spain dominates the barley market (49 995 ha; +7 %) ha) and Italy, that of durum wheat, the areas of which are growing again to reach 55 070 ha (+9 %). Oats recorded a growth of 9 % and developed particularly in Finland (9 440 ha ; +15 %), Sweden (8 185 ha ; +19 %) and in Spain (8 015 ha ; +16 %).

The corn seeds production continue to follow sustained growth (+15 %) to reach 174 595 ha under the impetus of a large majority of producing countries. In France, the leading producer and first world exporting country, the area increased by 18 % to reach a new record of 82 760 ha, 47 % of total European surfaces. Its main competitors, Romania and Hungary, recorded growth of 21 % to 31 145 ha and 8 % to 27 685 ha respectively. Italy and Slovakia show remarkable increases of 17 % (7 750 ha) and 13 % (5 290 ha) respectively.

Oilseed areas fell by 2 % to 116 525 ha. This situation is mainly due to sunflower and rapeseed which show a decline, respectively, of 6 % to 39 340 ha and 14 % to 25 025 ha. The trend is driven by France, leader for these two species, which recorded a drop of 14,5 % in sunflower (16 340 ha) and 35 % in rapeseed (10 750 ha). The same evolution can be observed in the majority of producing countries with the exception of Spain, whose areas increased by 17 % to 11 430 ha in sunflowers and doubled in rapeseed to 6 700 ha, ahead of Germany, which showed a decrease from 22,5 % to 3,050 ha. Conversely, soybean areas are on the rise again to reach 43 715 ha (+3 %). Italy remains the leader for this species with 11 160 ha (+3 %) ahead of Romania (5 875 ha; +1,4 %) and Croatia (5 450 ha; +6 %), just ahead of France whose surface remains stable at 5 365 ha.

Fodder plant areas increased by 5,3 % for a total of 515 700 ha and represent 24 % of European areas in seed production. Denmark is the leader in this market with 98 290 ha (+2,5 %). Poland comes in second, driven by a remarkable growth of 39 % to reach 69 530 ha ahead of Italy (64 580 ha; +6 %). Denmark dominates the fodder grasses market with 92 190 ha (+0,2%), Italy that of small-seeded legumes (53 433 ha ; +1 %), Poland that of crucifers thanks to a jump in acreage (+61%) to 13 315 ha supplanting Hungary which shows a decline of 33 % to 9 320 ha. Spain remains the leader for large-seeded legumes (mostly vetches) despite a 30 % drop to 9 260 ha.

Forage grasses dominate the forage seed market and represent 262 963 ha. Area gain 8 % thanks to a 10 % growth in ryegrass to reach 152 520 ha. Perennial ryegrass covers 88 140 ha (+6 %), Italian ryegrass 57 985 ha (+16,5 %) and hybrid ryegrass 6 393 ha (+6 %). Fescues area reaches 59 100 ha (+2,5 %), mainly red fescue (+4 %) and tall fescue (1,5 %). Alfalfa, dominates the forage legume market despite a 9 % drop in area to 76 910 ha. This regression strongly affects the main producing countries such as Italy (-25 %), France (-21 %) and Spain (-2 %). The production of clover seeds covers 71 380 ha (-2,5 %), red clover represents 41 % of the area,  Egyptian clover (26 %) and crimson clover (18 %). Italy and the Czech Republic are leaders with 19 900 ha (-17 %) and 11 430 ha (-10,5 %). France is third with 8 125 ha (+11 %). Vetch seed production area continues to decline (-3 %). The common vetch represents 78 %, 19 270 ha. Spain remains the main producer despite a drop in acreage to 7,730 ha which benefits Greece (+16 % ; 3,670 ha), Italy (+33 % ; 3,090 ha) and France (+32 % ; 2,235 ha).

The potatoes seeds production area gains 2% to reach 122 950 ha. The Netherlands dominate the European and international marketplace. They are the largest producers in EU with 40 790 ha (+2 %). They represent 33 % of EU production area. Then come France (23 530 ha, +4,5 %), Germany (18 860 ha, +5 %) and the United Kingdom (14 000 ha, 0 %).

In protein crops, the areas recorded a sustained increase of 16% to reach 109 910 ha. Strong increases are observed in a large majority of countries, in particular Germany, whose area reach 14 790 ha (+22 %), shoulder to shoulder with France, which is showing growth of 27 % to 14 525 ha. Next come the United Kingdom (11 215 ha ; +16 %) and Poland (10 750 ha ; +23 %). Peas (fodder and protein crops) represent 63 450 ha (+13 %), field beans 36 230 ha (+21 %) and lupine 10 230 ha (+20 %).

In fiber flax, area has been growing steadily since 2014 (14 % on average) to reach 33 965 ha, of which 28 470 ha are covered by France, which is clearly establishing itself on the Community market. Oilseed flax represents 7 015 ha and shows strong growth in 2020 (+56,5 %). The trend is similar in almost all the producing countries, in particular the United Kingdom, which reaches 2 030 ha (+39 %), followed by France (1 370 ha; +27 %) and Romania, whose area has jumped from 185 ha to 970 ha.

The areas under production of sugar beet and fodder beet seeds are on the rise again to total 11,455 ha, an increase of 7.4% driven by Italy, whose area jumped by 27% to 5,483 ha. France shows a decline of 3.4% to 5,474 ha.

On the global market, European seed exports reached € 8,1 Billion in 2020 (+5  %), with a trade surplus of € 2,3 billion (+19 %). The Netherlands, France and Germany are the more significant exporting countries with respectively 33 %, 24 % and 10 % of the total EU seed exports in value, all species included. Vegetables (pulses excluded) are the first exported species group (34 % of the exports in value), followed by corn (19 %) and oilseeds (13 %). Vegetables seeds exports increase by 5%, corn seed by 11 % and oilseeds grow by 3%. Seed potato exports fall by 17%.




 

Summary note made by GNIS (FR)

 

"Seed production in EU - 2020: download the presentation"

 


Evolution of seed production area in the European Union


E.U. area for seed production by country


E.U. area for seed production by species

 


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