By volume of production and cultivated area the barley is the most important cereal of Spain. In 2014 the total production of barley was around 7 million tons. There are two types of barley according to the length of their biological cycle: the common, which are sown in autumn and harvested in early summer, and the tremesins, which are sown in late winter or early spring and are collected by the end of Spring or early summer. Years ago, of the total production of barley corresponded to 2 races (barley brewers) 75% and the rest to barley of 6 races or horses. However, in recent years the percentage of barley brewing has been increasing and by 2014 already represented 90% of the whole harvest. Castile-Leon, Castilla-La Mancha and Aragon, are the great Spanish producing regions. As in Spain, barley production in the European Union (EU) declined in 2014 to reach 60.5 million tonnes, one million below the previous harvest. Of all the barley produced in the European Union, about 50% corresponded to the production of two barley barley (spring barley). In 2014, the country with the highest production in the EU was France with 11.7 million tonnes, followed closely by Germany with 11.6 million tonnes. Then Spain and very close to the United Kingdom with a production also exceeding 7 million tons. World production also declined in 2014 to below 144 million tonnes, while the United States harvest remained lower than in the previous year, for the second consecutive year.


Globally, maize is the most important cereal from the point of view of production and acreage. By 2014, world maize production amounted to almost 1 billion tons. The United States is the world’s leading producer with 356 million tonnes.
For its part, the European Union returned in 2014 to increase its production and raise it above 73.8 million tonnes (8 million more than in the previous campaign). At the European level, the main maize producing country in 2014 remained France (17 million tonnes in 2014), followed by Romania (11 million tonnes) and Italy (8 million tonnes).
Spanish production in 2014 fell slightly to reach 4.7 million tonnes, compared with 4.9 million tonnes the previous year. Approximately 15% of the maize available in Spain is destined for the processing industry and 3% for direct human consumption, while in the EU the percentage for industrial uses is lower and is intended for human consumption. In order to meet market needs, Spain imported 6.2 million tonnes, a much higher volume than the previous year (more than 1 million tonnes above), and a small quantity (98,224 tonnes) was also exported, , Of high quality corn. Around 25% of the maize that our country buys abroad precedes other EU Member States and the remaining 75% of third countries, mainly Argentina, Brazil and the United States. Castilla-León is the largest Spanish producing region, followed by Castilla-La Mancha, Aragon, Andalusia and Catalonia and already remote Navarre and Galicia.


In both the European Union and Spain, wheat, barley, maize and rice are the most cultivated cereals. However, in all countries, there is also, to a greater or lesser extent, representation of other cereal products. In Spain smaller amounts of rye, oats, triticale and sorghum are produced. The campaigns of 2014 were generally negative, as for the main cereals. Thus, Spanish rye production reached 228,800 tonnes in 2014, 40% less than in 2013, a year in which, on the other hand, the harvest had increased by an even higher percentage. Likewise, the national harvest of oats amounted to 670,500 tonnes, 30% less. The prices received by farmers were much lower in 2014 than in the previous year. The average price for rye was EUR 15,43 per 100 kg and that for oats EUR 15.98 per 100 kg, whereas in the previous year both cases exceeded EUR 16.7 per 100 kg. About one third of the national production of rye is used in Spain for the production of dark bread, with lots of fiber, with the rest going to feed. Likewise, the bulk of the production of oats is destined for human consumption, mainly as porridge that have a high energetic content. Another cereal that is developing a lot in recent years is triticale. In 2014 production rose to 450,000 tonnes, 14% more than in the previous year. For its part, in the European Union, the rye harvest in 2014 resulted in a production of 8.9 million tonnes (much lower than the previous year) and oats with 7.8 million tonnes (also lower than in 2013). On the other hand, production of triticale was much higher than in the previous year (12.8 million tonnes). In addition, the EU has a small production of sorghum, which in 2014 exceeded 4 million tonnes.

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Montse Gonzalez