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Serbias total area wheat crop is estimated at 600,000 ha

28.12.2020 15:09 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U. S. Department of Agriculture attache in The Belgrade, Serbias total area wheat crop is estimated at 600,000 ha, 5 percent higher than in the previous year mostly due to high wheat prices during MY2019/20. Corn production for MY2020/21 is estimated to be 8 million MT, almost 10 percent higher than the previous year. Serbias corn exports of 3.2 million MT in MY2019/20 was a record. As of October 2020, Serbia had exported almost 460,000 MT of corn, 87 percent higher than in October 2019. It is estimated that in MY2020/21 Serbia could export up to 3.8 million MT and regain its position as one of the leading European exporters of corn.

Status of Harvest and New Planting

Serbias corn harvest was completed mid-November yielding 8 million MT. The soybean harvest for MY2020/21 on 235,000 HA was a record of 750,000 MT. The sunflower harvest for MY2020/21 on 220,000 HA is estimated at 700,000 MT.

Nearly 1 million hectares with wheat, barley, rye, oat, triticale, rapeseeds, forage, vegetable and buckwheat were planted in MY2021/22. Winter planting was delayed until late October due to high precipitation and wet field conditions. Wheat planting is projected at 600,000 HA, while barley planting is projected at 93,000 HA, rye at 13,000 HA, oat at 12,300 HA, triticale at 20,500 HA and rapeseeds at 21,300 HA. About 80,000 HA are expected to be planted to forage and 100,000 HA to vegetable crops.

The MY2020/21wheat harvest started in end of June and was finished by end of July. Final official estimates of the MY2020/21 wheat crop put total wheat area harvested at 570,000 HA, total wheat production is estimated at 2.6 million MT and estimated an average wheat yield at 4.6 MT/HA. High ending stocks from MY2019/20 of 1 million MT and MY2020/21 production of 2.6 million MT, will secure enough wheat for domestic consumption and around 1.2 million MT for exports.

The MY 2020/21 wheat harvest concluded in July with official estimates based upon 57,000 HA at 2.6 million MT, an average wheat yield of 4.6 MT per hectare. MY 2019/20s high ending stocks combined with MY 2020/21s 2.6 million MT harvest more than meet domestic consumption and allow for exports of about of about 1.2 million MT.

The high demand for wheat as a result of panic buying in response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led a steady rise in the cost of wheat. The drought in Romania, Ukraine, and Hungary also reduced the supply of wheat in the Black Sea region and thus the increase in the price. The price of what increased from 17 dinars/kg ($170/MT) in July to the current price of 22.5 dinars/kg ($225/MT).

The price of wheat in Serbia is determined based upon a hectoliter per kilogram value.

Serbia has about 1.5 million MT of wheat available for export from its MY2019/20 crop. The constraints with exporting wheat (and other crops) from Serbia are limited the transshipping capacity of the Serbian ports and reduced number of vessels in the river fleet. Serbia shipping will be challenged December 2020-March 2021 by the low level of the Danube River and limited possibility to transport wheat by river barges to the Black Sea (over 60 percent of wheat exports from Serbia are transported to the huge silos at the Port Constanza). The remaining 40 percent of the wheat is over land to the neighboring countries.

According to the Serbian Grain Fund, in MY2019/20 Serbia exported 395,281 MT of wheat and 144,508 MT of wheat flour. The grains total is 583,141 MT of wheat, almost 50 percent lower than in MY2018/19 due to low wheat quality (mostly sold as feed wheat). From July 1, 2020, until October 30, 2020, Serbia exported 266,854 MT of wheat and 41,382 MT of wheat flour. Estimates are that Serbias MY2020/21 wheat exports will reach 1.2 million MT. Serbia primarily exports wheat and wheat flour to Romania, Italy, Kosovo, Albania, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. As a result of declining wheat production in Hungary and Romania and a delayed harvest in Ukraine, export opportunities increased for Serbia, thus the export figure is projected to be much higher than for the

previous year.

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