The Istat Report dated April 2021, which takes into account the decade from 2010-2019, indicates that over the period of time considered, the areas invested in cereals in Italy decreased by almost 15%, going from 3,619,477 hectares in 2010 to 3,086,163 in 2019. Simultaneously, the percentage weight of cereals in the total arable land area also decreased during the same period, from 51.9% to 45.9%. Northern Italy was especially affected by a cereal farming contraction during the decade in question, while the Central and Southern areas experienced a less pronounced decline.
The same Report, subsequently taking into account the data for the 2020-2021 year, indicates Puglia and Piedmont as the two Italian regions with the highest surface area invested in cereals, with Puglia mainly involved in the cultivation of durum wheat and Piedmont instead in that of corn and rice; the latter region representing 50% of the total national surface allocated to this cereal.
Compared to the planting season of 2010, in 2020 we saw a sharp drop of corn in Italy and an equally significant increase of wheat, especially with durum but to a certain extent with soft also. The reasons for these new balances are mainly correlated to the prices recognized to farmers (increasing for wheat, due to the favourable balance between supply and demand, and decreasing for corn), but also to the gap in production costs, which are higher in the case of corn due to greater defense needs.
If the aforementioned Istat Report reveals that the pandemic did not have significant effects on the profitability of Italian cereal farming companies, on the other hand, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine (underway for two weeks at the time when this article was written), both global key players in the cereal sector, may lead to new planting balances in 2022, in our country as well as in other EU nations.