EU legume production continues to increase
In 2021, EU-27 legume production has grown the third year running. According to the EU Commission’s estimate, the total harvest amounted to just less than 6.8 million metric tons. This was up 10 percent year-on-year, but remained short of the 7-million-ton record harvest of 2017. Of the legume crops listed, sweet lupins saw a particularly big increase in output compared to the previous year. The 2021 harvest was approximately 347,000 tons, which translates to a 71 percent rise on the previous year, which saw a sharp decline in sweet lupin area. Consequently, the current harvest is 49 percent larger than the long-term average. According to Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH), the increase is exclusively due to the expansion in area, because yields were lower than a year earlier. The 2021 field bean harvest amounted to 1.3 million tons, which was up 2 percent on 2020. Again, the increase is based entirely on the larger field-bean area since yields remained below the previous year’s level.
The most important legume crop in the EU-27 is soybeans, which account for a slightly lower share of around 43 percent of grain-legume production. Farmers harvested around 2.8 million tons in 2021, approximately 8 percent more than the previous year. This is mainly due to a 7 percent growth in yield, since the soybean area was only marginally expanded. The second most important legume crop in the EU-27 is feed pea. At 2.3 million tons, production surged 13 percent from 2020. The main reason is a 9 percent expansion in area planted. Yields were up 3 percent year-on-year. In the long-term comparison, production of feed peas was up 7 percent and that of soybeans 5 percent.
The Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen (UFOP) has said that this development in production confirms the basic upward trend in grain-legume production and farmers’ interest in opening up new markets and making crop-rotation systems more resilient and less risky in view of climate change. Addressing the new German government, the UFOP has underlined its call to make the necessary accompanying steps sufficiently attractive. According to the association, the toolbox is basically in place and all that is needed is a forward-looking bold approach. The UFOP has renewed its call for an adequate premium scheme to promote the production of grain legumes as part of the “Diverse Crop Rotation” ECO scheme that is currently being discussed, as well as demanding adequate funding of the protein crop development strategy. Both issues are important “guidelines” for a future arable farming strategy that deserves the name and is also appreciated by consumers.
The UFOP has drawn attention to its studies on the expansion of crop-rotation systems and the specific and monetarily quantifiable contribution grain legumes make towards climate protection. These studies were presented at the “UFOP Perspektivforum” event Sept. 23. At a UFOP conference that is to be held Nov. 2, the value of the protein components of rapeseed and grain legumes for a healthy, varied, and climate-friendly diet and the added-value potential that could be utilized at a regional level will be presented and discussed. For the conference program, click here.
With this information, the UFOP has underlined its claim to be a competent contact partner for the coming legislative period.