The year 2020 was mainly characterised by lower yields for almost all arable crops, according to the final harvest estimate 2020 of Statbel, the Belgian statistical office.
These yield decreases did not necessarily result in production decreases.
Due to the bad weather conditions in the autumn 2019, much less winter cereals were sown and more spring cereals were sown in the spring 2020. This resulted in a large production decrease for winter cereals, i.e. -10% for winter wheat, -19% for winter barley and -18% for triticale. In total, 260,500 tonnes less winter cereals were produced than in 2019.
More spring cereals were sown, so that despite the disappointing yields due to the spring drought, a production increase could still be recorded in 2020.
The production of grain maize decreased by 2% and that of green maize remained at the level of 2019. For both crops, there was an area increase combined with a yield decrease.
After a yield increase of 6% for sugar beet in 2019, a 4% decline was observed in 2020. The yield was therefore just slightly higher than the 84.3 tonnes/ha yield in 2018. As a result of a reduction in surface area, almost 288,000 tonnes less sugar beet were produced in 2020.
The total area of potatoes in Belgium fell by 1% compared to 2019. This combined with a lower yield, due to the drought in August 2020, gave a total production decrease of 2% or a decrease of almost 99,000 tonnes.
An area increase of 24% for fibre flax combined with a yield decrease of 30%, due to the spring drought, reduced Belgian production by 13% in 2020. The yield was 4.4 tonnes/ha and was significantly lower than the five-year average of 5.2 tonnes/ha.
Rapeseed was one of the few crops to show an increase in yield in 2020. However, production decreased by 10% due to a reduction in acreage compared to 2019.