Serbian grain market review

“Depending on the size of the wheat crop, Serbia appears on the international market annualy with an amount of 840 – 1,350 thousand tons of wheat and 2,5 to 3,5 million tons of corn. This year wheat crop will still be slightly higher than the five-year average in our country, so it will not significantly affect the trade, processing and export of Serbian wheat. This year’s Serbian wheat crop is expected at level of 2.6 million tons with 1.1 million tons of wheat available for exports.”

Sunchica Savovic
Seretary General
Association Serbia Grains

Association Serbia Grains is an association of grain producers and exporters with over 40 years of tradition. 49 member companies include: manufacturers and exporters of grains and oil seeds, companies which are dealing with storing and accompanying services, quality control, crop protection, transport of bulk commodities and port operators.

Association Serbia Grains member companies organize production on 980.000 hectars, own silos and warehouses for storing 3.1 million tons of grains and oil seeds and export around 3 million tons of grains and oil seeds on annual basis.

Associations Serbia Grains company members mutual share in total grains and oil seeds export from Serbia in period from 2008 to 2018 equaled 65 to 87% for wheat, 68 to 86% for corn and 89 to 98% for oil seeds ( sunflower seeds, soybeans and rapeseed together ).

In Serbia, agricultural land amounts to around 3.5 million hectares. Arable land represents a bit above 2.5 million hectares, which is approximately 73% of total agricultural land in Serbia. Production of grains and oil seeds in Serbia is dominated by corn with almost 1 million hectares sawn every year. Wheat follows with around 600 thousand hectares, soybeans with around 250 thousand hectares, sunflower seed with around 230 thousand hectares, barley with 80 thousand hectares and rapeseed with around 50 thousand hectares.

Adverse weather conditions, different varieties of wheat in production as well as large deviations in agro-technology give a very wide range in all quality parameters.

The distribution of wheat to quality groups in Serbia is based on protein content according to the table below:
Depending on the size of the wheat crop, Serbia appears on the international market annualy with an amount of 840 – 1,350 thousand tons of wheat and 2,5 to 3,5 million tons of corn. Average exports in the last five years were at level of around 1 million tons of wheat and 2,5 mill. tons of corn on yearly basis.

Based on the analysis of the SGS in the last three years, Serbia has produced in average:
• 12.33% of with proteins below 11%
• 12.34% of wheat with proteins range from 11 to 11.5%
• 20.00% wheat with proteins 11.5 – 12%
• 28.00% wheat with proteins 12 – 12.5%
• 29.00% wheat with proteins above 12.5%

In 2018, 1.202.317 tons of wheat was exported from Serbia, which represents an absolute record. A good export results were caused by excellent yields in the previous two years, but also by the growing sales on the FOB Danube ports parity. About 600,000 tons of wheat was shipped via the Danube, which makes up 50% of total exports (a year earlier this percentage equaled only 6.67%).

During 2018, wheat flour export from Serbia equaled 176.112 tons (last year 235.457 tons) with biggest traditional buyers of Serbian wheat flour being: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Italy.

In the frames of the latest mutual project between Association Serbia Grains with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) titled “Building capacity of the agribusiness association in emerging markets”, Association Serbia grains organized SERBIA CROP TOUR 2019 which had just finished in the second week of June. This event aimed to determine the expected quantity and quality of this year’s Serbian wheat crop. Representatives of the Association Serbia Grains, together with certified samplers, visited as many as 70 municipalities, ie all regions in which wheat is grown, after which the samples were processed and analyzed.

2019 is definitely a specific year when it comes to wheat in Serbia. Starting from the fact that the weather was favorable in December and January for wheat which was under the snow cover, over extremely unfavorable weather conditions in the continuation of the vegetation period – from extreme drought to heavy rains, made for Serbian farmers harder or completely impossible to apply all agrotechnical protective measures. As a result, around 7 % smaller wheat yields are expected this year compared to the previous year, which was also a record year. However, this year wheat crop will still be slightly higher than the five-year average in our country, so it will not significantly affect the trade, processing and export of Serbian wheat. This year’s Serbian wheat crop is expected at level of 2.6 million tons with 1.1 million tons of wheat available for exports.

It is my pleasure to exclusively announce at this edition of Miller’s Magazine the first National Grain Conference in Serbia which will be organized at the Serbian capital Belgrade at the end of October this year, within the frames of mentioned project with UN FAO and EBRD and with the cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, forestry and water management of Republic of Serbia. At the National Grain Conference, domestic producers and traders will have the opportunity to be acquainted with the world trends and current developments in the international grain market and potential buyers from abroad to see the potentials of Serbian production.

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