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Serbian wheat production down from last year?
This spring, corn has the largest area planted with some 1.25 million hectares, same as last year. Planting of commercial corn was completed by mid-May. Area planted to corn accounts about 40 percent of total field crop area in Serbia. Total corn production in 2005 is projected to be around 5.85 million MT. With increased Serbian livestock production, feed corn consumption increased 10 percent in 2005. Total consumption of corn in CY2005 is expected to be about 5.8 million MT.

Corn is currently traded in large quantities but all is coming from last year stocks. Current average price of artificially or naturally dried corn with 15 percent moisture is 8.50 din/kg ($131/MT), while the price of naturally dried corn with 14 percent moisture is 8.85 din/kg ($136/MT). Serbian corn remains the most expensive in the region and despite large surpluses from last year crop, this spring Serbia exported only around 30,000 MT to its traditional partners such as Bosnia, Macedonia and Albania. At the beginning of 2005, the Serbian Government reported a surplus of almost 700,000 MT of corn and projected to have large exports. Due to lack of price competitiveness this projection has not materialized during MY04/05.

Spring barley was planted on 60,000 HA. This, together with 55,000 HA of winter barley brings total area planted for the MY05/06 crop to 115,000 HA. Winter and spring growing weather conditions were good for the barley crop. Total production this year is estimated to reach 400,000 MT, with an average yield of 3.5 MT/HA. Barley has a secondary importance in the Serbian agriculture economy compared to wheat and corn. Feed barley for cattle accounts for about 70 percent of total barley produced in Serbia. Feed barley prices generally follow wheat prices, while brewing barley prices are about 20 percent higher.

Area planted to winter wheat in Serbia for MY2005/06 crop is about 550,000 HA, 14 percent lower than the previous year. About 60 percent of the new wheat crop was planted later than the optimum planting date. Long winter and heavy spring rains had some effect on wheat, but experts say that wheat growing season is going well. Wheat quality is expected to be good, while average yields will be lower than last year. In the flooded Vojvodina’s Banat region, it is expected that wheat yield will be almost 1 ton/HA, while in Central Serbian regions yields could reach a record high of 7.5 tons/HA. In East Banat, around 15,000 HA wheat fields were flooded and destroyed in April 2005. It is projected that the average wheat yield this year will be between 3.5 and 3.8 tons/HA. Production is forecasted between 1.7 and 1.8 million MT, almost 1 million MT less than MY04/05. Farmers are preparing to start the wheat harvest in mid-July.

Serbian wheat exports totaled 140,000 HA as of May 2004, much lower than forecasted by the Government (500,000 MT). This is mostly due to the low quality of the wheat crop and the lack of price competitiveness of Serbian wheat. Serbia could export an additional 100,000 MT of wheat, purchased through public tender from State Commodity Reserves by a local company and could be exported during July and August 2005.

Serbian wheat production in MY05/06 will cover all domestic needs (1.7 million MT) and maybe have some 100,000 MT for exports. The current local price of wheat is between 8.60 and 9.50 din/kg ($132/MT and $146/MT) depending on wheat quality. Serbian wheat is still the most expensive in the region, compared to wheat prices in the Black Sea USD115-120 MT/FOB.
MGR Archive 7.7.2005
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