The Grain In Spain Is Mainly Grown In Vain

Spanish grain farmers are expected to produce significantly less in 2009, according to Donaciano Dujo, head of the ASAJA farm union in Spain's grainbelt region of Castilla-Leon.

With current prices lower than production costs, farmers are expected to reduce plantings sharply next season.

Dujo estimates that the costs involved in producing a 3.1mt/ha yielding crop are around 600 euros, with 3.1mt of wheat currently worth only 420 euros on the domestic market the problem is there for all to see.

The Castilla-Leon region produces around half of Spain's national output of wheat, accounting for 6.7mmt in 2007/08.

Dujo estimates that plantings this season will be down around 25% to 1.5m hectares.

Farmers said land not sown to grain would either be left fallow or planted with lower-maintenance crops like rape, sunflowers, field peas or vetches.

Due to it's unpredictable climate grain production in Spain varies quite wildly, yielding anything from 14-24mmt in recent years. Even with a bumper crop in 2007/08 the country still needed to import 12mmt of grain.