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Serbia corn production highest in the past decade
With 90 percent of the crop harvested, the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture estimates that total corn production in 2004 will reach 6.3 million MT, the highest production in Serbia in the past decade. Area planted to corn is estimated to be about 1.2 million HA, with average yield around 5.2 MT/HA. Industry sources put area and production figures at even much higher levels than that of the Ministry of Agriculture. They estimate the total area planted to be about 1.3 million HA, the average yield about 5.5 MT/HA and total corn production to be around 7 million MT in 2004.

Area planted to corn represents almost 40% of total field crop area in Serbia. About 90 percent of the crop is produced by private small and medium size farmers, while the remaining 10 percent is produced by several large private and state companies. Both the Ministry of Agriculture and industry sources report good quality corn for the 2004 crop, with very satisfactory moisture content and other quality indicators. Due to wet weather conditions in October, corn harvest has been significantly delayed which lead to late planting of the upcoming wheat crop. This could have a large negative impact on the average yield of the 2005 wheat crop.

Domestic consumption requirements are currently estimated at about 4.7 million MT annually.
In a normal year, Serbian corn exports range between 200 and 400 thousand MT annually. Extreme weather conditions, however, can significantly disrupt these trends. For example, due to severe drought conditions in Marketing Year 2001 Serbia had to import 206 thousand MT of feed corn to satisfy domestic consumption needs. Serbian corn imports in that year came mostly from Hungary, Brazil and Paraguay.

In Marketing Year 2003, Serbia exported about 158,000 MT mostly to its traditional importers that include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Greece. The Romanian Black Sea port of Constanza is a transitional destination for Serbian corn export to the Middle Eastern and North African Countries. With the huge corn crop in 2004, Serbia could have available for exports over one million MT. Given the limitations in Serbia’s export infrastructure and the small corn inventory from the previous year, it is unlikely that Serbian corn exports would reach the stated goal of 1.1 million MT. On November 4, 2004 the Ministry of Agriculture launched an initiative to eliminate export quotas for wheat and corn to help Serbian farmers export their surplus crops. The Ministry of International Economic Relations must, however, approve the initiative before it becomes effective.

According to the Yugoslav Grain Fund, Serbian corn is offered in the Black sea port of Constanza at about $110 MT/fob. Currently, local prices of mechanically dried corn at the Serbian commodity exchange vary between $88 and $95 MT and analysts project prices to decline in the coming weeks. Serbian trade sources expect corn exports to significantly pick up during November 2004.
MGR Archive 16.11.2004
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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