What Is Rye?
Rye is a type of cereal grain that belongs to the wheat family. This plant is native to the central and eastern regions of present-day Turkey. Archaeological evidence suggests that it may have been cultivated in small amounts during the Neolithic era. Rye made its way to central Europe and by the Bronze era, it was grown in large amounts. Today, rye is used to make flour, bread, beer, whiskey, and animal feed. It can also be consumed whole as a cereal. This grain is grown in many regions around the world, though its principal production remains in areas where it has been historically grown. This article takes a look at some of the top rye producing countries in the world.
Rye plays an important role in the agricultural industries of countries with poor soil quality. Not only does it do well in soil with high sand or peat composition, but rye can also handle colder temperatures compared to other grains. In order to harvest this plant, farmers utilize combine harvesters. These machines complete 3 operations: reaping (cutting the plant), threshing (separating the grain from the plant), and winnowing (separating the grain from the chaff). The rye is then stored and prepped for shipping.
Top Rye Producing Countries
As previously mentioned, rye is primarily grown in regions where it has historical importance. Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe remain the biggest rye producing regions of the world, having cultivated the grain since the Bronze era. This information is reflected in the list of top rye producing countries as well.
In 2012, Germany cultivated 3,893,000 metric tons of rye, making this country the top rye producer in the world and one of the only nations to increase production over the last 20 years. In 1992, Germany only produced 3.3 million metric tons of this grain, indicating a 600,000 metric ton increase in harvest. Today, this country exports a significant amount of rye and is responsible for 21% of the global supply. This percentage equates to $86.8 million worth of the grain.
The second biggest producer of rye is Poland. This country produced 2,888,137 metric tons of rye in 2012. Despite its ranking and large production number, Poland has actually experienced a gradual decline in rye cultivation. In 1992, for example, it harvested 5.9 million metric tons. Like Germany, Poland also exports a significant amount of this grain. In fact, it is responsible for the largest percentage of rye exports in the world. In 2014, 36% of global rye exports came from Poland. This percentage represents $151 million in market value.
Russia is the third top rye producing country in the world. In 2012, this country cultivated 2,131,519 metric tons of the grain. Although this is a significant amount of rye production, Russia once produced larger quantities. In 1992, it was the world’s top producer with 13.9 million metric tons of rye. This pattern of declining rye production suggests a decreasing global demand. Most of what Russia produces remains within the country. In 2014, Russian rye accounted for only 5% of the global export supply or $22.1 million in value.
The chart published below offers a complete list of the top rye producing countries of the world.