Monitoring cereal production in support of agricultural policies

Cereals, such as maize, wheat, and rice, are popular food crops. In fact, these crops are often the basis for food staples. Cereals are grown in many different regions across the world also in Europe. Proper assessments of the production is essential for strategic decisions on export, import and stock management. One of the factors influencing the annual variation of production is weather. Timely assessment of how weather influences seasonal cereal production is key.

Europe is an important producer and exporter of cereals. Decision makers at the European Commission need to prepare food balance sheets that are used for market analyses and decisions related to the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) management of stocks, imports and exports, market interventions and budget preparation. However, annual cereal production is variable between years and regions because of differences in weather, soils and socio-economic conditions. Therefore, a monitoring system is needed to support decision makers in understanding the seasonal growing conditions across Europe and how final cereal production is affected.


Together with weather providers, we collect and process daily weather of 40 years till present and short term weather forecasts for the next 15 days. We assess current seasons’ crop growth and development by combining the daily weather data, local crop calendars and local soil data in parameterized crop simulation models for around 150.000 small regions over pan Europe.

As we do this for both, the past 40 years and the current year, we can see if a crop has a delayed or advanced development, if it has a normal or abnormal biomass and yield growth, if it experienced more stresses than normal. This information is then used in statistical analyses to make in-season estimates of expected yields at harvest.

We apply this method, implemented in Crop Growth Monitoring System (CGMS), for the most important arable crops in Europe.

we collect and process daily weather of 40 years till present
Impact and future perspective

Country analysts of the European Commission use the outcome to monitor recent developments in crop production and to perform country specific analysis. Each month the EU-CAP decision makers and member states are briefed on deviations in expected crop yield enabling direct response e.g. buying up, selling reserves or reserving compensation money where needed. The Commission uses the CGMS infrastructure also for other CAP related activities such as climate change adaptation and a resource efficient Europe.

  • Europe has 15% of global cereal production and 15% of global export
  • 31% of the total Europe Union (EU) budget relates to agriculture
  • Decisions on trade, stocks and farmer support requires timely information on cereal production
  • Weather strongly influences cereal production