Germany Experiences Nearly 4% Decrease in Winter Crops for 2024 Harvest

The autumn of 2023 saw German agricultural enterprises sowing winter crops on 4.9 million hectares of arable land for the upcoming 2024 harvest season. According to the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), this represents a reduction in sowing area for winter crops by 196,500 hectares or 3.9% compared to the cultivation area in 2023. Winter crops include winter wheat, winter barley, rye, winter mixed cereals, and the wheat-rye hybrid Triticale.

Specifically, the sowing area for winter wheat, the most significant cereal in Germany, decreased by 203,800 hectares or 7.3% to 2.6 million hectares compared to the current cultivation area. The decline in winter wheat cultivation is observed in all federal states except Saarland (+500 hectares or +6.5%). The most substantial decreases in absolute terms are evident in Lower Saxony (-58,400 hectares or -16.6%), Schleswig-Holstein (-31,300 hectares or -20.9%), and Bavaria (-23,500 hectares or -4.8%).

The reduction in winter wheat cultivation can be attributed, among other factors, to the regionally very moist soils at the intended sowing time, leading to poor field accessibility. Additionally, current market conditions for wheat and new regulations regarding direct payments under the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy may have influenced cultivation decisions.

Decreases are also observed in rye and winter mixed cereals, with an anticipated decrease of 4.4% (-27,400 hectares) to 600,700 hectares. Triticale cultivation remains at the previous year’s level, sown on 333,500 hectares. Winter barley cultivation sees a slight increase in sowing area by 2.5% (+31,500 hectares) to 1.3 million hectares.

For winter rapeseed, German farms have cultivated 1.1 million hectares, indicating a decrease of 4.7% or 54,800 hectares.