08 Nov 2023
 | 08 Nov 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Harmonized European Union subnational crop statistics reveal climate impacts and crop cultivation shifts

Giulia Ronchetti, Luigi Nisini Scacchiafichi, Lorenzo Seguini, Iacopo Cerrani, and Marijn van der Velde

Abstract. The availability of coherent time series of crop statistics is essential to better analyze the past, understand the present, and predict future trends in yield, area, and production. Importantly, such data also underpin assessments and subsequent policy actions that can shape future food systems that are more resilient in the face of climate change and sustainable in terms of resource use efficiency. In the European Union (EU), there currently is no legal obligation for EU countries to provide subnational crop statistics. Yet, such data could improve in-season crop forecasts, climate change impacts and adaption need assessments, and evaluation of agri-environmental schemes. The dataset described in this paper includes a harmonized collection of subnational crop statistics on area, production, and yield, collected for the EU from National Statistical Institutes (NSIs) and the Eurostat REGIO database – subnational crop statistics voluntarily contributed by EU countries. The crops considered are wheat (including soft and durum wheat), barley (including winter and spring barley), grain maize, sunflower and sugar beet. All data is harmonized towards the hierarchical structure of the Eurostat legend, and the regional classification of NUTS (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) version 2016, to provide coherent time series. A total of 344282 records is presented here (115974 for wheat, 122705 for barley, 35274 for grain maize, 34916 for sugar beet, and 35413 for sunflower) for a total of 961 regions in 27 EU countries. Statistics are reported from 1975 to 2020, with a median time spans range of 21 years. A flagging system details for each data record information on data sources, processing steps, and quality checking results. This includes consistency checks between reported values for area, yield and production, identification of null values, missing and calculated data, information on crop legend matching, and NUTS versioning. We illustrate the value of this dataset by analyzing impacts on crops and production zone shifts in Europe due to climatic and economic factors. Recommendations and future developments of collecting subnational statistics at EU level are briefly discussed. The dataset is accessible with ECAS login at (Ronchetti et al., 2023b).

Giulia Ronchetti et al.

Status: open (until 15 Dec 2023)

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Giulia Ronchetti et al.

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Harmonized European Union subnational crop statistics Giulia Ronchetti, Luigi Nisini Scacchiafichi, Lorenzo Seguini, Iacopo Cerrani, and Marijn van der Velde

Giulia Ronchetti et al.


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Short summary
We present a dataset of European Union-wide harmonized subnational crop area, production, and yield statistics with information on data sources, processing steps, missing and calculated data, and quality checks. Statistical records (344282) collected from 1975–2020 for soft and durum wheat, winter and spring barley, grain maize, sunflower and sugar beet were aligned with the Eurostat crop legend and the 2016 territorial classification for 961 regions.