Monday, May 17, 2010
Wheat Outlook -- Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan
SYRIA: Record Wheat Production Outlook in 2010/11
After several drought-affected growing seasons, Syria appears poised to produce a record winter grain harvest in 2010/11. Above normal rainfall over the bulk of the winter growing season, as well as warmer than normal temperatures, provided generally ideal grain growing conditions. Crop development was robust, with satellite imagery in April revealing that the majority of the grain belt was covered by unusually lush wheat and barley crops.
IRAQ: Near-Normal Wheat Production Outlook in 2010/11
A resurgence in winter grain cultivation in northern Iraq, after two consecutive years of drought decimated the region, is enabling the country’s grain production to rebound to near-normal levels in 2010/11. The rebound is especially pronounced in the governorate of Ninawa, historically the breadbasket of Iraq, which reportedly increased winter grain (wheat and barley) acreage by 370 percent this year following unusually favorable autumn rainfall which blanketed parched farmland with ample moisture. Highly beneficial rainfall and warmer than normal temperatures through much of the winter growing season provided generally ideal grain growing conditions throughout northern Iraq this year, ensuring a successful winter grain harvest. Crop development in Ninawa, Arbil, Dahuk, Sulaymaniyah, and At-Tamin was especially robust, with satellite imagery in April revealing unusually lush wheat and barley crops.
IRAN: Above-Average Wheat Production Outlook in 2010/11
Like its neighbors to the west in Iraq and Syria, Iran has experienced two consecutive years of drought and reduced winter grain harvests. As a result, the country has had to resort to record-level grain imports to satisfy domestic demand for food and feed grains and to rebuild stocks. The current 2010/11 winter grain growing season is turning out to be much more successful, with expectations for a substantial increase in both wheat and barley production. Iran’s winter grain growing regions are widely dispersed. It is uncommon to have favorable conditions in virtually all primary grain growing areas, but this is the case this year.
AFGHANISTAN: Above-Average Wheat Production Outlook in 2010/11
Afghanistan is currently having its second consecutive successful wheat growing season, as plentiful autumn planting rains ensured the majority of the crop got off to a strong start. Overall grain growing conditions have been less favorable though than last year, when record crop area and yields resulted in a bumper harvest. Overall winter snowfall was substantially lower than last year, implying that total irrigation supply and irrigated crop yields will be reduced. In addition, well-above normal temperatures blanketed the major lowland wheat growing regions, causing heat stress and increased crop water demand. Satellite imagery of most of the country’s lowland irrigated cropping areas shows a marked decrease in crop vigor compared to last year, and indicates crop yield and production will be substantially lower. USDA is currently forecasting 2010/11 wheat production in Afghanistan at 3.7 million tons, 13 percent below last year’s record level but 18 percent above average.