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Lowered wheat output pushes EU soybean production

The EU’s soybean production is forecast to increase slightly in market year 2020-21 due to anticipated low wheat production and barley supporting soybean use in feed ratios, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The EU is expected to produce 2.79 million tonnes of soybeans in market year 2020-21, up from 2.6 million in market year 2019-20.

The EU is the world’s second largest importer of soybeans behind China. The EU is anticipated to import 14.8 million tonnes of soybean in market year 2020-21. Increased demand in The Netherlands and Spain buoyed the USDA’s EU soybean import forecast.

Low wheat and barley production also increased demand for soybean in the EU as well as competition from rapeseed will be weaker encouraging the use of soybean meal, the USDA said.

“However, overall meal demand may be affected by the negative impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the meat sector with the economic downturn anticipated in Europe for the second half of 2020 and likely the beginning of 2021,” the report said.

The EU’s market year 2019-20 soybean and meal imports slipped due to lockdown measures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The lockdown measures in many EU countries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted demand for animal products consumed primarily  in hotels, restaurants and institutions lead to a slight decline in total feed production and hence protein meal demand,” the report said.