EUROPE – Recent projections indicate a substantial surge in soy cultivation across Europe in 2024, with anticipated growth ranging between 5-10%, culminating in a historic production volume of 5.3-5.7 million tons, according to the latest market report from Donau Soja. 

Key soy-producing nations within the EU, including Ukraine, Russia, and the EU itself, are expected to witness significant expansions in soy-growing areas, driven by compelling economic conditions surrounding soy prices.

According to the Donau Soja report, despite a 10-15% global market price decline over the past three months, EU non-GM soy prices have exhibited resilience, holding steady. In mid-February, Bologna non-GM soybean prices experienced a modest 3% reduction from their recent peak in mid-December, underscoring the robustness of the market.

In Ukraine, a leading soy producer in Europe, projections indicate a remarkable 21% increase in soy cultivation, reaching a record 2.2 million hectares in 2024, according to the country’s agricultural ministry. 

This surge is attributed to superior profitability compared to other oilseeds and cereals, as well as dissatisfaction among farmers with sunflower prices and reduced rapeseed planting due to the autumn drought of 2023.

Similarly, the EU’s soy area is forecasted to grow by 5-10%, reaching a record 1.1-1.2 million hectares in 2024. Producers across the bloc are expected to stabilize or expand planting, with some opting for soy over corn, encouraged by the high soy yield in 2023.

In Germany, a 5-10% increase in soybean acreage is anticipated, reaching 50,000 hectares in 2024. Factors such as increased demand for regional non-GM soybeans and informative events organized by industry stakeholders contribute to this growth.

France is expected to witness an 18% surge in soybean acreage compared to the previous year, with soybeans and other spring crops benefiting from challenges faced during the growth period for winter cereals.

Serbia is poised for the most significant expansion, with soy cultivation forecasted to rebound to 250,000 hectares in 2024, marking a 60-70% increase from 2023. This surge is attributed to favorable soybean prices compared to wheat and corn, along with the high availability of certified seeds in the region.

However, despite the optimistic outlook, concerns linger among crushers regarding the new EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) legislation and its implementation. With the upcoming sowing campaign just months away, clarity on compliance measures remains elusive, introducing a layer of uncertainty to the industry’s trajectory.

As Europe gears up for a potential record-breaking year in soy cultivation, stakeholders remain vigilant amidst regulatory challenges, striving to navigate towards a sustainable and prosperous future for the soy industry on the continent.

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