Agrana, the maker of corn starch, potato starch and sugar from stocks grown across central Europe pulled in a rising tonnage for campaigns of sugar beet, potato starch and wet corn. The group, whose principal market is the European Union, operates four starch factories across Austria, Romania and Hungary, producing a range of building-block ingredients including native and modified starches, glucose syrups and maltodextrins.
Potato starch campaign
Approximately 100 kilos of potato yields 1.5 kilos of protein and about 18 to 20 kilos of starch. According to the firm, that has a market value of about €1.1 billion, the potato starch campaign at its Lower Austria is expected to pull-in around 210,000 tonnes, "reaching the limit of the contractual quantity", compared to 195,000 tonnes for the previous year.
The starch content is expected to be higher than in the prior period at around 18 per cent. This, in turn, is expected to yield approximately 45,000 tonnes potato starch, an increase from 40,000 tonnes last year.
Agrana writes that, as a result, 94 per cent of the Austrian potato starch quota of 47,691 tonnes, unchanged from the prior period, is expected to be taken up.
Further, the processing of organic food industry potatoes to make long-lasting products such as potato flakes, will remain at the level of the prior year with around 28,000 tonnes.
Wet corn campaign
Due to "favourable weather conditions" and the additional growing area in response to the suspension of the 10 per cent set-aside scheme by the European Commission, the harvest is expected to be higher than in the previous year.
Based on current estimates, approximately 100,000 tonnes of wet corn - compared to 103,000 tonnes last year - will be processed in the period up until mid December. Agrana reports that the processing will then again be switched to dry corn.
And thanks to a €100 million expansion project to ramp up of production for corn starch, a popular thickening agent, at its Szabadegyháza, Hungary facility, Agrana projects the plant is expected to process approximately 160,000 tonnes of wet corn in the current processing season, more than eight times the 21,000 tonnes processed at the plant the previous year.
s for wet corn, favourable weather conditions have given a yield boost to sugar beet with Agrana reporting that the yield per hectare for Austrian sugar beet this year will be around 67 tonnes, compared to 63 tonnes last year.
The firm anticipates its seven sugar refineries in Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania will produce approximately 675,000 tonnes of sugar, a dip from 711,080 tonnes in the prior year.
The fall is linked to reform of the EU sugar market that saw Agrana's sugar quota shaved to 618,502 tonnes for the 2008/9 campaign, down from 735,565 tonnes in the previous period. And a clear sign of growing consumer demand, for the first time ever Agrana, an alliance of co-operative-based Austrian owners and Germany's Südzucker, reported that it will produce organic sugar from organically-grown Austrian beet.