The total cereal crop in the Netherlands is expected to reach 1.6 billion kilos this year. This is 4 percent more than in 2003. Both a higher yield per hectare, and a larger area of cereals have contributed to this increase.
Good wheat crop
The yield of winter wheat is higher this year than it has been for ten years, at 9,200 kilo per hectare. Dutch arable farmers produced 14 percent more winter wheat this year than in 2003. This increase was also boosted by a larger total area devoted to wheat: winter wheat was grown on 12 percent more land than in 2003.
Less summer barley
In 2004, the yield of summer barley is expected to be 6,100 kilos per hectare. This is 5 percent less than in 2003. The total production of summer barley will come to 275 million kilos, just over 16 percent less than in 2003. Depending on the weather conditions, the ratio of cultivated winter cereals to summer cereals fluctuates somewhat.
Drenthe is the main province for summer barley. Nearly one third of this crop is grown in this province. Summer barley is mainly grown for beer breweries. In Drenthe the area used for growing barley has doubled in the space of the last ten years.
Area of summer barley
Renewed interest in rapeseed
There has been a marked renewed interest in the cultivation of rapeseed in the Netherlands. For the second year in a row now the area of rape has increased substantially. Rape is being grown on more than 1,600 hectares of land in 2004. In 2003 this was 950 hectares, and in 2002 still only 480 hectares.
In spite of a slight decrease in the yield per hectare, total rape production is two-thirds higher than in 2003. The crop of rapeseed is expected to total 5.6 million kilos. Most rapeseed is grown in the province of Groningen. The main reason for the renewed popularity of rape is that it is being used more and more for the production of alternative car fuel.
Folkert van der Werf