According to experts, corn production can be profitable again this year

By: STA Date: 2023. 03. 30. 09:45

The events of the past year have made many domestic corn producers uncertain, while experts draw attention to the fact that this year, thanks to the already wetter weather, the appropriate seed varieties, the stable receiving market provided by the Hungarian processing industry, and the easing of disruptions caused by Ukrainian shipments, the corn this year it can bring good profits to the farmers. The demand for corn is still guaranteed: domestic biorefiners, such as Pannonia Bio, operating in Dunaföldvár, have been a reliable and permanent purchasing partner of Hungarian farmers for years.

(Photo: Pixabay)

Last year’s historic drought practically destroyed the corn crop on 240,000 hectares, and as a result of the Russian-Ukrainian war, shipments from the neighboring countries ensured a continuous supply of raw materials, which affected who positively and who negatively, depending on the sector. According to a recent summary of the Agricultural Economics Institute (AKI), in 2022 the drought significantly reduced yields, so Hungary, which is traditionally an exporter in this area, had to import heavily. The amount of imported corn exceeded one and a half million tons by the end of the year, which is almost four times higher than the 400,000 tons in 2021. Despite the drought, 1.87 million tons of corn still left the country, probably from previous stocks. In Hungary, according to AKI PÁIR data, fodder corn changed hands at an average producer price of HUF 96.8 thousand/ton in the first week of March. This is still almost 5 percent lower than a year earlier, but experts predict a positive shift in prices in the short term.

Improved weather prospects, drought-tolerant hybrids

According to popular wisdom, corn “suffers” from drought in three out of ten consecutive years, and we have largely overcome this in the past period. This year’s precipitation data based on observations by the National Meteorological Service (OMSZ) are also encouraging. There was a lot of rain in September, November and December last year, and from that point of view, the year started well. In the first 10 days of January, the average total January precipitation fell in some parts of the country, and according to the OMSZ report, a new record was set in Bakonybél, Veszprém County. Those who plan to grow corn in the spring can sow it in wetter soil in most parts of the country and reasonably expect additional rainfall. This in itself is not a guarantee of avoiding drought, but it is an encouraging sign.
The experts also draw attention to the fact that, depending on the characteristics of the growing area, it is worth choosing seed varieties that are more tolerant of drought, and then choosing a protection method suitable for the weather, in which village farmers and other specialists can help uncertain farmers.

Stable recording market, reliable partner

“All forecasts show that the area planted to corn will decrease this year due to uncertainties. However, it is important to know that the domestic processing industry offers a reliable market for the crop. As in previous years, Pannonia Bio, which sees serving the dynamically growing protein demand of agriculture and the food industry as a strategic area, plans to purchase approximately one million tons of corn this year, and it is always counting on the cooperation of Hungarian farmers,” says Zsolt Lengyel, Pannónia Bio, commercial its director.

Shipments coming from Ukraine and stranded in the country also played a role in farmers’ uncertainty. According to recent news, the situation may ease this year, as the area sown there is significantly reduced and the spring work is delayed.

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