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EU legume harvest higher than average



EU output of legumes from the 2023 crop is expected to exceed the previous year’s figure by 5 percent and also the average of the past five years. Field peas and soybeans are seen to show the biggest increase.





The EU Commission has estimated the EU legume harvest at a full 6.3 million metric tons in 2023. This would be up 5 percent year-on-year but remains far short of the 6.9-million-ton record harvest in 2017.





Above all, the harvest of field peas is set to grow 11 percent compared to the previous year to 2.1 million tons. According to Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH), the increase is due to both the expansion in area planted and a presumed growth in yields.





The most important legume crop in the EU-27 remains soybeans, which account for a slightly larger share of 44 percent of the legume crop. Producers are expected to harvest around 2.3 million tons in 2023, 14 percent more than the previous year, despite a 99,000-hectare year-on-year reduction in area planted.





On the other hand, the EU field-bean crop is set to remain below the previous year’s output of 1.3 million tons, at 1.2 million tons.





The biggest decline is expected for sweet lupins. At 332,000 tons, the harvest is seen to fall around 26 percent short of the previous year’s level, mainly due to an expected drop in yields.





The Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen (UFOP) has emphasized that the production area and output of grain legumes are basically on an upward trend.





This growth in legume crops underlines farmers’ interest in opening up new markets and making crop-rotation systems more resilient and less risky by growing legumes.





In view of the ongoing negotiations on the budget of the German Federal Ministry of Agriculture in the German Bundestag, the UFOP has urged that the accompanying and incentive measures relating to the protein plant strategy (EPS) be made sufficiently attractive in order to support this development.





According to the association, the toolbox is in place and all that is needed is a forward-looking bold approach.





Regarding the common agricultural policy (CAP), UFOP has renewed its call for an adequate premium scheme in the first and second pillar of grain-legume production in varied crop-rotation systems.





“Together with proper protein plant strategy funding, these steps would create essential overall conditions for a future arable farming strategy that deserves the name and is also appreciated by consumers,” UFOP stated.

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