Crop Explorer - Commodity Intelligence Reports - Middle East and Turkey

Jun 13 2022 | Middle East Wheat: Water Availability and Input Costs Raise Concerns about the MY 2022/23 Crop
USDA estimates marketing year (MY) 2022/23 Middle East wheat production higher relative to last year’s poor outcome. Wheat production across the Middle East, however, is still projected significantly below the 5-year average (Table 1).

Sep 17 2021 | Lower MY 2021/22 Grains Production in the Middle East Due to Dryness and Excessive Heat
USDA estimates winter crops (i.e., wheat and barley) production for marketing year (MY) 2021/22 lower compared to last year for all major wheat and barley producing countries in the Middle East due to dryness (Figures 1 and 2). USDA groups Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Yemen, Oman, Israel, and Jordan into the Middle East region.

Jun 1 2021 | Turkey MY 2021/2022 Cotton Area Rebounds but Yield Declines
USDA forecasts Turkey cotton production for Marketing Year (MY) 2021/2022 at 3.4 million 480-pound bales (mil-480 lb. bales), up 17 percent from last year. Area is forecast at 450,000 hectares (ha), up 29 percent from last year. However, yield is forecast at 1,645 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha), down 9 percent from last year’s near-record yield of 1,804 kg/ha.

Sep 17 2020 | Turkey MY2020/2021 near-record wheat yield
USDA estimates Turkey wheat production for MY 2020/21 at 18.5 million metric tons (mmt), up 1 mmt or 6 percent from last year. The area is estimated at 7.1 million hectares (mha), up 0.1 mha or 1 percent from last year. The yield estimate of 2.61 tons per hectare is at a near-record level (Figure 1).

Jun 28 2019 | Iraq Wheat: Record Yield and Production from Abundant Precipitation
Iraq wheat production for 2019/20 is estimated at 4.8 million metric tons (mmt), up 1.8 mmt or 60 percent from last year’s crop of 3.0 mmt. Harvested area is estimated at 2.4 million hectares, up 41 percent from last year. Yield is estimated at 2.00 metric tons per hectare, up 13 percent from last year.

Jun 28 2019 | Syria Wheat: Production Rebounds from Last Year’s Drought Affected Crop
Syria wheat production for 2019/20 is estimated at 4.8 million metric tons (mmt), up 2.8 mmt or 140 percent from last year’s crop of 2.0 mmt. Harvested area is estimated at 1.6 million hectares, up 45 percent from last year. Yield is estimated at a record 3.00 metric tons per hectare, up 65 percent from last year.

May 1 2018 | Drought Across Syria and Northern Iraq Impacts Winter Grains
The Syrian winter grains crop for 2018 experienced a serious drought which extended across the border into the northern Iraqi province of Ninawa. Drought hit this food insecure region during the prime growing months from January through April. Harvest begins in mid-to-late May and the probability of any benefit from additional precipitation is very low.

Feb 28 2018 | TURKEY: Early Dry Weather Hampers Establishment in Southern Anatolia Winter Grains Region
Dry weather is a concern for the winter grains in southeastern Turkey. The major area of concern is Southern Anatolia that typically produces 15 percent of the total winter wheat crop (Fig. 1). Winter grains planting in Turkey begins in early October and ends by late December for both wheat and barley. During the planting season, precipitation was near-toabove average over the majority of the winter grains area with the exception of the Southern Anatolia region. Precipitation over Southern Anatolia between October, and December 2017 was well below normal (Fig. 2). This was one of the driest seasons for planting in recent years.

Feb 28 2018 | SYRIA: Dry Conditions Prevail Across the Breadbasket Region of Al Hasakah
The major winter grains production region is in northern Syria with the province of Al Hasakah being the breadbasket (Fig. 1). This region of Syria has experienced severe conflict since 2012 and farming resources such as labor, equipment, and materials to produce a crop would be expected to be limited. The planting window is from October until the end of December for the winter grain crops of wheat and barley.

Feb 28 2018 | IRAQ: Dry Weather Threatens the Winter Grains Crop in Northern Iraq
Northern Iraq is the main winter grain producing area for Iraq (Fig. 1). This region is heavily dependent on precipitation for its winter grains production. Planting begins in October and continues until late December for both wheat and barley. According to media reports dry conditions have raised concerns that the winter grains have experienced unfavorable conditions for establishment, and in some instances, dryness prevented planting.

Feb 24 2017 | IRAQ: Monitoring Lake Dahuk and the Mosul Dam with Satellite Radar
Iraq’s Lake Dahuk has been a very carefully watched body of water since the late 1980’s when it was created by the completion of the Mosul Dam on the Tigris River in northern Iraq about 10 kilometers north of the city of Mosul. The dam is the largest in Iraq and the fourth largest in the Middle East. The lake depends mainly on recharge from snowmelt in northeastern Turkey. Mosul Dam is the major source of hydroelectric power in Iraq while the lake provides much needed irrigation water for spring and summer crops. The dam was also built to help alleviate flooding in Baghdad from the Tigris River that commonly occurred during spring snowmelt.

Dec 27 2016 | IRAQ: Rice Production Up from Last Year but Still Below Average
Rice is an important commodity in Iraq, where annual consumption is almost 100 pounds per person compared to about 30 pounds in the United States. Over the last 10 years, rice production has met only 8 to 21 percent of domestic consumption (Fig. 1).

Jul 26 2016 | Iraq: 2016/17 Wheat Harvest Above Average
Iraq 2016/17 wheat production is estimated at 3.4 million tons, up 3.0 percent from last year and 15 percent above the 5-year average. Yield is estimated at 1.48 tons per hectare which is 9.6 percent above last year and 5.0 percent above the 5-year average. Area is estimated at 2.3 million hectares, down 6.1 percent from last year but up 8.5 percent from the 5-year average.

Aug 12 2015 | IRAQ: 2015 Rice Production Drops by More than Half due to Lack of Irrigation
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates Iraq’s market year (MY) 2015/2016 rice production (crop year 2014-2015) at 110,000 metric tons, down 59 percent from 267,000 tons last year. Harvested area is estimated at 48,000 hectares, down 50 percent, with rough rice yield at 3.44 tons per hectare, a decrease of 17.7percent from last year.

Jul 23 2015 | SYRIA: 2015/2016 Wheat Production Up from Last Year due to Favorable Precipitation
USDA estimates Syria’s market year (MY) 2015/2016 wheat production (crop year 2014-2015) at 3.5 million metric tons (mmt), up 1.0 mmt or 40 percent above last year’s drought-reduced crop and recovering to about the 5-year average (figure 1). Yield has also returned to roughly the 5-year average at 2.41 metric tons per hectare (mt/ha), an increase over last year’s 1.92 mt/ha. Area harvested is expected to total 1.45 million hectares, 0.15 million hectares or 10 percent above last year.

Jul 16 2015 | TURKEY: 2015/16 Cotton Production Remains at Near Record Levels
USDA forecasts Turkey’s market year 2015/16MY2015/16 cotton crop at 2.8 million bales. Production is down 400,000 bales from last year but still above the 5-year average. Harvested area is estimated at 380,000 hectares, 70,000 hectares below last year. Yield is estimated at 1604 kilograms per hectare, a 0.9 percent decrease from last year’s record yield of 1620 kilograms per hectare.

Jul 10 2015 | IRAQ: 2015/2016 Wheat Production Favorable but Down from Last Year’s Record Crop
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates Iraq’s 2015 market year (MY2015/16) wheat crop at 3.3 million metric tons (MMT). Production is down 200,000 MT, (5.7 percent) from 2014 which was a record crop. The 5-year average for Iraq wheat production is 2.87 MMT. Harvested area is estimated at 2.45 million hectares(MHa), down 10,000 hectares (Ha) from last year, with yield estimated at 1.35 MT/Ha, a 4.9 percent decrease from last year’s 1.42 MT/Ha. A record yield of 1.60 MT/Ha was achieved in 2009.

Jan 12 2015 | Iraq’s 2015/16 Winter Grains Have Favorable Weather for Planting
Winter grains play an important role in Iraq’s food security. Wheat, the major winter grain, and barley are planted at the beginning of October until the end of November. Harvest usually begins in May and continues through June. In recent years wheat production has increased. USDA estimated the wheat crop harvested in 2014 (market year 2014/15) at a record 3.5 million metric tons due to high incentives to plant and very good weather conditions. Despite the record, wheat production remains below consumption and Iraq continues to import wheat. This year, however, planting in northern Iraq is occurring during civil disruptions. This article provides a review of satellite imagery and weather conditions for an update on winter grains.

Jan 31 2014 | Turkey MY2014/15 Winter Grains Central Anatolia Region Dryness Concerns
Winter grains, wheat and barley, in the Mesopotamian regions (Turkey, Syria, and Iraq) are planted and will start to actively grow again by late March. Most of this region has been drier than normal from October to December, 2013.

Jan 23 2014 | Iraq MY2013/14 Rice Area Assessment Using Landsat-8 Satellite Imagery
Rice has always been an important staple as part of the Iraqi diet. In the 1980s, Iraq imported large amounts of US rice to meet its growing demand. Rice is primarily grown in a concentrated area along the Euphrates River near the city of Najaf. The Euphrates River is the source of irrigation water for this area and having sufficient steam flow is crucial to Iraqi rice production. There have been years where Iraq rice production was significantly down because of low flow river levels necessitating a reduction in planted area either due to drought or to the construction of large reservoirs upstream.

Jun 12 2012 | SYRIA: 2012 Wheat Production Outlook is Favorable Despite Ongoing Conflict
The uprising against the government in Syria is entering its 16th month, with violence against civilian populations escalating dramatically in 2012. The bulk of military and paramilitary activity this year has been focused in the major cities and surrounding villages or towns in a large arc of western Syria’s agricultural belt, including the cities of Homs, Hama, Aleppo, Idlib, and Dar'a. Atrocities with mass casualties have become more common in recent weeks in Homs and Hama and the surrounding rural countryside, with localized food security deteriorating rapidly. Though the general food supply in the country is reported to be adequate, availability of food (especially bread), fuel, and medicine in cities and towns affected by recent military activity is extremely limited owing to the disruption of distribution networks and infrastructure. Tens of thousands of people have reportedly fled to nearby regions, including Turkey, to escape the conflict. The unknown element in the situation is how the rural community which is dispersed across the extent of the country's grain growing regions is coping, and whether the conflict will in any way affect their ability to successfully harvest and market the 2012 winter grain crop.

May 31 2012 | IRAN: Disappointing 2012 Wheat Harvest Likely to Fuel Higher Import Requirements
Iran’s economy has been under significant pressure for the past two years owing to coordinated international sanctions against its oil and banking industries, a major devaluation of its currency (>50%), and the removal of substantial domestic subsidies for fuel, bread, rice, vegetable oil, and sugar due to government economic reforms. The net result of both domestic and international actions has been to dramatically increase domestic inflation and create bottlenecks to trade. Though current sanctions do not officially target food or agricultural commodities, restrictions imposed on Iranian banks and trading firms have impeded the country’s ability to finance needed imports. The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) reported earlier this month that the nation’s core inflation rate stood at 21.5 percent while food price inflation was escalating. The CBI noted that average food prices increased 40-156 percent in the past 12 months (red meat +56%, leafy vegetables +156%, vegetable oil +42%, legumes +50%, dairy products +51%). Against this backdrop, the outlook for the country’s 2012 wheat harvest takes on added importance. Wheat is the staple foodgrain and bread the most important daily food product. Based on Iranian government estimates the average person consumed roughly 8.7 kilograms (kg) of bread per month and 104 kg per year.

Jul 12 2011 | TURKEY: Winter Grain Production at Near-Record Levels in 2011
Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) personnel in Ankara traveled widely in the winter grain producing regions of Turkey during June to assess wheat and barley production prospects. As a result of their investigations USDA is currently forecasting 2011/12 wheat production at 18.5 million tons, up 1.1 million or 6 percent from last month and up 9 percent from last year. Barley production is forecast at 6.5 million tons, up 0.8 million or 14 percent from last month and up 10 percent from last year. Though winter grain production was poor across much of the Middle East this year, Turkey has experienced extremely favorable growing conditions and is headed for a near-record harvest. Turkey is the region's largest wheat and barley producer, accounting for 47 and 58 percent respectively of total production in the Middle East. Bumper crop production prospects this year will ensure that it also maintains its role as the leading grain exporter in the region.

May 11 2011 | MIDDLE EAST: Wheat Production Forecast to Decline in 2011
The 2011/12 wheat harvest in the Middle East is already underway in parts of Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. The bulk of the harvest usually occurs from late May through July, though crops at higher elevations in both Turkey and Iran mature later and harvest activities normally continue in these areas through August. Early indications are that 2011/12 wheat production will be lower than last year, as autumn drought reduced planted area and crop establishment in many non-irrigated growing regions. Both crop area and yield are expected to decline across the wider region owing to insufficient rainfall and/or irrigation supply at various times of the growing season. USDA is currently estimating 2011/12 Middle East wheat production at 37.9 million tons, down 2.2 million or 6 percent from last year. Harvested wheat area is forecast at 18.2 million hectares, down 0.28 million or 2 percent.

Jun 10 2010 | MIDDLE EAST: Yellow Rust Epidemic Affects Regional Wheat Crops
Agricultural scientists at the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) and the International Center for Agricultural Research for the Dry Areas (ICARDA) have reported that a major outbreak of a virulent new strain of yellow (stripe) rust has been identified in prime Middle Eastern wheat growing regions. The outbreak has reached epidemic proportions in Syria's major grain producing provinces bordering Turkey and Iraq, with significant national crop losses expected. Outbreaks have also been reported in central and southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq, north, west and southern Iran, and in Lebanon. Outside the Middle East, yellow rust outbreaks have also been identified in Morocco, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan this year.

May 11 2010 | 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. As illustrated in the map above, 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.

May 11 2010 | 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.

May 11 2010 | 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.

May 12 2009 | SYRIA: Wheat Production Outlook Improved in 2009/10
Improved seasonal rainfall conditions and increased use of irrigation allowed Syria to increase wheat production compared to last year's severe drought. Total production, however, is expected to remain well below average. Normal to above normal rainfall in western and northern wheat growing areas helped improve overall grain production prospects this year.

May 12 2009 | IRAQ: Drought and Irrigation Shortages Decimate Wheat Harvest in 2009/10
Iraq is experiencing its second consecutive drought-reduced wheat harvest owing to well-below normal rainfall and significant irrigation supply shortages. Crop area is expected to be much below normal in major northern rainfed provinces after poor autumn rainfall caused many farmers to abort sowing operations. Crop yields are also expected to be significantly reduced in major southern irrigated provinces this year owing to critical shortages of irrigation water in the Tigris and Euphrates river systems during the wheat growing season.

May 12 2009 | IRAN: Another Disappointing Wheat Harvest Ahead in 2009/10
The widely dispersed winter grain production regions in Iran have generally experienced more favorable growing conditions in 2009/10 than during last year's extremely severe drought. Normal to above normal rainfall in the important rainfed wheat growing areas of northwest Iran has helped improve overall grain production prospects this year.

Dec 15 2008 | MIDDLE EAST: Deficient Rainfall Threatens 2009/10 Wheat Production Prospect
The Middle East suffered a severe region-wide drought last year (2008/09 MY), with substantial crop losses reported from western Turkey and Israel through eastern Iran. In most areas the exceedingly dry weather pattern lasted from planting time in September through harvest in June, resulting in one of the worst agricultural droughts in recent decades. Total regional wheat production declined approximately 7.4 million tons or 19 percent. The only countries to escape significant year-to-year reductions in grain output were Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Saudi Arabia's wheat crop declined modestly owing to planned reductions in sown area (not drought), whereas Turkey experienced an even more severe drought in 2007/08 and had crop yields actually recover slightly in 2008/09.

Sep 16 2008 | MIDDLE EAST and CENTRAL ASIA: Continued Drought in 2009/10
The Middle East and Central Asia regions are currently in the grip of one of the worst droughts in recent history. Widespread failure of rain-fed grain crops occurred in 2008/09, as well as sizable declines in irrigated crop area and yield. Food grain production dropped to some of the lowest levels in decades, spurring governments to enact grain export bans and resulting in abnormally large region-wide grain imports. Should drought continue into the 2009/10 growing season which begins in October, even greater declines in grain production will occur as planted area for both rain-fed and irrigated crops will be severely restricted. A second year of severely reduced grain harvests would imply significantly increased regional grain import requirements as well as posing substantial threats to internal security in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Afghanistan is the most vulnerable, owing to its lack of financial resources for large-scale grain imports and lack of institutional expertise to plan and execute such imports.

May 9 2008 | SYRIA: Wheat Production in 2008/09 Declines Owing to Season-Long Drought
Syria, like its neighbor Iraq, has been experiencing a serious drought during the past 8 months. Drought stress in 2008/09, which was exacerbated by abnormally hot spring temperatures, is expected to cause significant losses to the nations winter grain crops.

May 9 2008 | IRAQ: Drought Reduces 2008/09 Winter Grain Production
Iraq has been experiencing one of the worst droughts in the past 10 years, with total wheat and barley production in 2008/09 expected to decline 51 percent compared to last year.

May 9 2008 | IRAN: 2008/09 Wheat Production Declines Due to Drought
Iran had experienced a more favorable early season rainfall situation than its drought-plagued neighbors of Iraq and Syria, but conditions rapidly deteriorated in February, March, and April 2008.

Dec 21 2005 | Europe: 2005/06 Corn Production Down in the EU, Up in the Balkans
USDA's December estimate for 2005/06 corn production in the European Union (EU) totals 46.9 million tons, down 6.4 million from last year. Although area was down 450,000 hectares from last season, the major factor affecting this year's crop was a severe but rather localized drought. The drought drastically lowered yields in two of the largest corn producing countries - France (the EU's largest) and Spain (typically ranked fourth). Meanwhile, abundant summer rain fell in Hungary, helping the EU's third largest corn producer to harvest another bumper crop, and slightly counteracting the large yield declines recorded in the Iberian Peninsula area.

Jul 19 2005 | Balkan Countries: Mid-Summer Update
USDA's July estimates for the 2005/06 Balkan wheat crop is 11.7 million tons, 19 percent below last year's record crop. Harvested area is estimated at 4.1 million hectares, down slightly from last month but up 5 percent from last season. Yield is forecast at 2.85 tons/ha, down ten percent from last month and down twenty-three percent from last year, but very similar to the five-year average. This year's wheat crop has not benefited from the nearly optimal weather last year that had pushed 2004/05 yields to a record 3.71 tons/ha.

May 11 2000 | Spring Conditions in Eastern Europe: Moist in North, Dry in Southern Balkans
Spring planting continues across eastern Europe while winter grain and rapeseed growth progresses. Consistently above average temperatures have fall planted crops developing 1-2 weeks ahead of schedule. Most of eastern Europe has received adequate to surplus rainfall which has provided appropriate moisture levels throughout the winter and spring months for crop development. Romania and Hungary (particularly eastern Hungary) have seen significant flooding, primarily as a result of spring snowmelt caused by high temperatures recorded in the Carpathian Mountains. Most of the flooding, however, has been localized and confined to land located immediately along rivers, so agricultural damage has been minimal. Romanian floods reportedly covered 13,000 hectares of total cropland, and killed thousands of livestock. Hungary may have lost as much as 45,000 hectares to wheat. Recent dry weather has improved the outlook for Hungary and Romania. If the current drying trend continues, flooded areas will most likely be re-seeded to corn.

Continued dry weather threatens Irans new crop prospects for the 2000/01 wheat marketing season and raises the odds of expanded grain imports over the next 6-12 months. Iran wheat imports are already high due dry conditions from last season and another drought could boost wheat imports to record levels.

Apr 28 2000 | Dry Conditions Continue in Iran, Iraq, and Syria; but Improvement Seen in Turkey
Rainfall in Iran has been below normal throughout most of the country and for most of the growing season (see Figure below). The country is in the second consecutive year of drought and the current crop is now in the heading stage. Reservoir water levels are lower than last year and low reservoir water levels are expected to affect irrigated crops (70 percent of wheat crop), especially those users located farthest downstream from the reservoirs. The Iranian Minister of Agriculture recently announced that wheat imports are expected to remain high for MY 2000/01 due to the severe drought.

May 11 2000 | Spring Conditions in Eastern Europe: Moist in North, Dry in Southern Balkans
Spring planting continues across eastern Europe while winter grain and rapeseed growth progresses. Consistently above average temperatures have fall planted crops developing 1-2 weeks ahead of schedule. Most of eastern Europe has received adequate to surplus rainfall which has provided appropriate moisture levels throughout the winter and spring months for crop development. Romania and Hungary (particularly eastern Hungary) have seen significant flooding, primarily as a result of spring snowmelt caused by high temperatures recorded in the Carpathian Mountains. Most of the flooding, however, has been localized and confined to land located immediately along rivers, so agricultural damage has been minimal. Romanian floods reportedly covered 13,000 hectares of total cropland, and killed thousands of livestock. Hungary may have lost as much as 45,000 hectares to wheat. Recent dry weather has improved the outlook for Hungary and Romania. If the current drying trend continues, flooded areas will most likely be re-seeded to corn.

Jun 23 2000 | Drought and High Temperatures Continue in Eastern Europe
Drought and high temperatures have plagued basically all of eastern Europe since mid-April/early May. Romania appears to have suffered most, followed by the regions comprising the former Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Bulgaria. Further north in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia crops have also withered from high temperatures and drought. Here, however they have recently benefited from occasional rainfall during the last couple weeks. This moisture has not been enough to prevent widespread losses, but should help to recover yields somewhat. Rains across eastern Europe have largely remained in the north and passed over the Balkans. It is in this southern region where soil moisture levels are nearly depleted, crop prospects are the lowest, and harvest has been pushed ahead two weeks because of the effects from the hot, dry weather. Barley in the south is reportedly being harvested and wheat harvesting should be under way by the last week or two of June.

Cotton production for the outyear is estimated at 3.5 million bales, down from last years estimate of 3.675 million. The Government of Turkeys National Cotton Advisory Board (NCAB) estimated 2000/01 production at nearly 3.4 million bales, but other sources believe the NCAB is on the low side.

Sep 12 2000 | Eastern Europe's 2000 Corn Crop Suffers as Moisture Levels are Depleted
FAS/ Washington estimates the 2000/01 corn crop in eastern Europe at 19.7 million tons from 6.5 million hectares. Estimated production dropped 17 percent from last month and 36 percent from last season. Harvested area is down 2 percent from last month and 8 percent from last season.

Oct 23 2000 | Eastern Europe: Dry Conditions Hinder Fall Planting
As the corn and sunflower harvest is winding down in southeastern Europe, fall planting of winter wheat and barley is underway. A drought has continued to plague the Balkans throughout the year and has left surface soil moisture levels scant to insufficient for fall field work. This has delayed planting throughout the region. Problems for the fall crops will intensify rapidly if no rain is received within the next few weeks. The optimal planting time for much of the region is in October, before Novembers freezing isotherm drops through southern Europe and ends fall plant growth. Bulgaria has recently received some badly needed moisture, which should boost sowing, but even Bulgaria needs significantly more rainfall for proper germination and emergence.

Irans rainfall from September through November 2000 was normal to above normal for most parts of the country. During the month of October, rainfall was above normal in the central region while rainfall during November was above normal in the northwest and southern regions. Wheat is normally planted during September-October and the recent October-November rains should have allowed good wheat germination in most areas.

Mar 15 2001 | Grain Regions in Turkey and Iran Experience Dry Winter Conditions
Warm temperatures and below normal snow coverage in Central Anatolia may pressure Turkey's wheat yields. Iran experienced planting conditions that were much improved over the past two years, but dryness over the winter may limit yield potential.

May 15 2001 | Iran Braces for Third Consecutive Drought Year
With the 2000/01 rainy season nearly over, Iran has announced its third consecutive drought year. Cumulative precipitation graphs for major crop regions in Iran show that precipitation was below normal for most wheat regions during the 2000/01 growing season. A comparison of cumulative precipitation graphs for the past three drought years in Iran (1998/99, 1999/00, and 2000/01), shows that this year is not as dry as last year in some regions. However, the effects may be more severe, as the country has not recovered from the previous two years of drought.

May 18 2001 | Warm Winter Conditions May Reduce Wheat Output in Turkey
Turkey experienced a warm winter for most of the country from January-April (refer to temperature departure maps and temperature time-series graphs). Warm temperatures reduced winter wheat hardiness and induced an early spring. The warm winter temperatures and poor snow coverage also raised concerns about increased Sunni bug or sunn pest infestations. The end result is the warm winter and spring temperatures may reduce wheat yields for the MY 2001/02 crop. A large factor will be dependent on pest control programs and how the critical pest growth stages overlap with the wheat harvesting periods.

May 21 2001 | Mixed 2001/02 Wheat Outlook for Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey
Precipitation during the winter wheat season was favorable for most regions located in the Middle East. However, most of Iran received well-below normal precipitation, and the Central Anatolia region of Turkey received slightly below normal precipitation (refer to Figure 1). Iran was most severely affected by low precipitation. Government officials in Iran recently announced they entered their third consecutive drought year (refer to cumulative precipitation graphs). Reservoirs in Iran are reported to be down 50 percent of last year's low levels and water rationing will be extended to various urban areas

May 21 2001 | Economic Difficulties Cloud Prospects for Sunflowerseed
Sunflowerseed production may rebound in 20001/02 following drought last year. However, the current economic crisis may exert a dampening effect on final output. Sunflowerseed prospects vary with the political and economic vagaries of the total oilseed industry system in Turkey.

May 30 2001 | Eastern Europe: Northern and Central Regions in Good Shape
Conditions for Eastern Europe's winter grains are much better than for last year's drought-stricken crops, and parts of the region could even produce an above-average harvest. Agricultural inputs have generally been more available this season, and should contribute to increased production levels. However, given the ongoing moisture deficit in Romania and Bulgaria, prospects for the wheat crop in the southern Balkans are poor.

Jul 2 2001 | 2001/02 Wheat Production Down in Turkey
FAS analysts traveled through central Turkey during the last week of June. These analysts traveled through central Anatolia (Konya), southeastern Anatolia (Sanliurfa), Adana, and Antakay regions (refer to Figure 1) from June 20-28, 2001. The USDA analysts found that wheat production in most regions within the country will probably be slightly lower than last year, due to less than favorable weather, and poor availability of high-quality wheat seed for most of the country. FAS travelers expect Turkeys wheat production for 2001/02 to be down by 10-15 percent from last years crop. Currently, USDA estimates the 2001/02 wheat production for Turkey at 16 million metric tons, down by nearly 10 percent from last years 17.5 MMT crop.

Jul 16 2001 | Heavy Rains Hampering Early Harvesting in Northern Balkans
Eastern Europe received widespread rainfall during the month of June, causing disruptions to winter crop harvesting activities in the Balkans. Significant rain was needed to recharge low soil moisture levels still suffering from last seasons severe drought, but the much anticipated precipitation was excessive. Despite the poor harvest conditions, the northern Balkans' winter grain production will be well above last years dismal output. In addition, the recent heavy rains should boost prospects for the spring-planted corn and sunflower crops.

Aug 10 2001 | Turkey's Estimated Cotton Production Nears Record Levels
Turkeys cotton production for MY 2001/02 is estimated at 3.9 million bales, up from last years estimate of 3.6 million. The Government of Turkeys National Cotton Advisory Board (NCAB) estimated 2001/02 production at nearly 4.26 million bales, but other sources believe the NCAB is high. Most sources, including the USDA, forecast 2001/02 cotton production at 3.9 million bales, near the 1995/96 record level (Figure 1). Total cotton area increased from 670,000 hectares last year to 700,000 hectares for 2001/02.

Aug 14 2001 | Turkey's Corn Harvest Expected to be Near Average
Turkeys corn production for 2001/02 is estimated at 2.1 million tons, equaling last years crop and the 5-year average. For the current growing season, crop prospects are generally favorable for most corn regions. Rainfall for first crop plantings was adequate in April, with excess rainfall during germination in most regions. Evenly distributed rainfall and near-normal temperatures aided establishment from May to June. Rains continued to be favorable throughout most of the country for the entire season, and crop scouting reports during the end of June indicated the Marmara and Aegean regions received adequate rainfall to support a good crop. However, rainfall data indicates the Samsun area located near the Black Sea may have experienced moisture stress during the flowering stage in July (Figure 1), and yields from the second-crop in the Cukurova region may be low due to warm temperatures in late July and early August.

Aug 28 2001 | Southeastern Anatolia Becomes a Major Cotton Producing Region for Turkey
Irrigated area and cotton production continue to increase in the Southeastern Anatolia region as a result of the Southeastern Anatolian Project (GAP). From 1994 to 2001, GAPs cotton area increased from 160,000 to 341,000 hectares, or greater than a 50-percent increase (Figure 1). The increased area of 181,000 hectares is largely attributed to the opening of the first Sanliurfa Tunnel at the end of 1994. The Sanliurfa Tunnel delivers water to two main canals that irrigate 150,000 hectares on the Sanliurfa-Harran plains, with ninety percent of the irrigated area being planted cotton.

Sep 18 2001 | Syria's 2001/02 Wheat and Barley Production Reaches Record Levels
Syrias 2001/02 wheat and barley production reached record levels due to excellent rainfall and suitable temperatures and humidity throughout the growing season. Wheat production for the 2001/02 marketing year is estimated at 4.5 million tons, up 0.7 million from last month and up 1.8 million from last year. Barley production for 2001/02 is estimated at 1.7 million tons, up 0.4 million from last month and up 1.6 million from last year. The barley crop is 99 percent rainfed; about 40 percent the wheat crop is irrigated.

Sep 28 2001 | Drought and Flood Plague Iran's Rice Crop
A third consecutive year of drought has severely affected Irans rice-producing regions. Area planted was reduced as irrigation water was diverted to urban areas. As the crop was approaching maturity in mid-August, torrential rains seriously damaged a quarter of all rice area. Milled rice production for 2001/02 MY is estimated at 1.1 million metric tons, down 5 percent from last year and down 27 percent from the five-year average of 1996-2000. Harvesting of the 2001/02 crop begins this month.

Oct 29 2001 | Winter Grain Plantings in Eastern Europe:
A very dry October throughout Eastern Europe has raised concerns for winter grain in the Balkans as autumn planting operations wind down. While northern countries in Eastern Europe (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) have experienced an average or a seasonal surplus of moisture, the southern countries have little subsurface moisture to draw from during winter grain establishment. Although September brought 150 - 200 percent of average rainfall for much of Eastern Europe, Bulgaria saw much less of this total. It is doubtful that the recent September moisture did much to aide the long term lack of water in the south-eastern Europe. The highly anticipated rainfall was far too little to recharge moisture reserves after more than two years of drought in the southern Balkans.

Nov 20 2001 | Iran's Wheat Crop Needs More Rain
Planting for Irans 2002/03 winter wheat crop began in September and continues throughout different parts of the country. The rainfall from September through November was favorable along the Caspian Sea, but rainfall was below normal for a large portion of the country. More rainfall is especially required in western part of the country where a large portion of the rain-fed wheat crop is grown (Figure 1).

Feb 15 2002 | Turkeys Cotton Production Lowered Due to Excessive Rains
The USDA estimate for Turkeys cotton production in 2001/02 was lowered this month to to 3.88 million bales, down from last months estimate of 4.05 million. The downward revision was due to heavy rains and subsequent snowfall late in the harvest season, which prevented final picking in some regions. The area harvested was correspondingly reduced from last months estimate of 700,000 to 688,000 hectares. However, even with lower harvested area and production estimates, a record yield of 1.234 tons/hectares was achieved, and Turkeys 2001/02 cotton production was near the record of 3.91 million bales set in 1995/96 (Figure 1).

Mar 22 2002 | Turkeys Winter Wheat Breaks Dormancy
Winter wheat production prospects in Turkey are better than last year due to above normal precipitation received this growing season (Figure 1) and a below normal harvest last year. Turkeys wheat yields and production last year were lower than average due to localized drought conditions in Central Anatolia, the region that accounts for nearly 40 percent of Turkeys wheat production. Wheat and barley are grown throughout the country, with wheat being the largest grain crop and barley being the second largest.

Apr 1 2002 | Syrias 2001/02 Wheat Production Breaks Record
Syrias 2001/02 wheat production is estimated at a record at 4.5 million tons, due to good rainfall and suitable temperatures last fall. However, last month, the 2001/02 barley production estimate was cut from 1.7 million to 1.3 million tons, with the final barley output below the 1995/96 record of 1.7 million tons. Current winter wheat and barley production prospects in Syria are favorable, but final production and yield estimates for marketing year (MY) 2002/03 will be largely determined by the rainfall received during the head development and grain-filling stages from March through May.

Apr 10 2002 | Rains Raise Winter Crop Prospects, but More Moisture Needed
Iranian wheat in the northern locations continues to break dormancy (Snow Cover Map), while wheat in the southern regions is much more advanced (Figure 1). In the southern and eastern regions early-planted wheat has entered the flowering stage, but late-planted wheat is still in the jointing stage. Harvest of the wheat crop begins in mid-April for the southern and eastern lowland areas, where the wheat crop is predominately irrigated and grows faster due to relatively warmer temperatures (Figure 2).

Apr 29 2002 | Eastern Europe: Spring Crop Condition Update
Winter grains should be in the jointing stage in most of Eastern Europe as temperatures have been above average since mid-January (with a two-week exception in late March/early April that brought cooler air). Fears of a return to cold weather during late winter (when there was no protective snow cover over dormant crops) never materialized. Currently, moisture conditions in the region are largely split along an east-west axis, with the best conditions existing north of Hungary.

Jun 6 2002 | Eastern Europe
Romania and Hungary continue to be the Balkan countries with the most serious agricultural production concerns. These countries have been struggling all season with the effects of extended dryness and even recently they have seen very little relief. Meanwhile, the situation has temporarily improved over the main growing region of Serbia. This northern section of the country, Vojvodina, finally saw the arrival of rain towards the end of May, which will help ease vegetative stress. While the rains were not nearly enough to reverse the downward trend of yields (particularly in the hardest hit area along the Romania border where it was probably too late for the damaged winter grains), the late May precipitation is critical to further development of both winter and spring grains. Additionally, Bulgaria has fared much better than Romania, the consequence of storm tracks that have crossed the Balkans further to the south, providing beneficial rains to Bulgaria, but often leaving Romania, further north, dry

Jun 20 2002 | Rains in Iran End One Month Early
The rainy season in Iran came to an early end, with most growing regions receiving little rain for the past month (seasonal rainfall analysis). The northwestern rainfed region, such as Lorestan and Kordestan (production maps), were particularly hard hit because wheat was at the critical flowering-heading stages when surface and sub-soil moisture (soil moisture map) deteriorated (wheat stage on May 28). Significant rainfall is not expected in next month as seasonable dry conditions range from July to September.

Aug 16 2002 | Floods Inundate Areas of Central and Eastern Europe:
An unusually large summer storm pounded central and eastern Europe during the second week of August, creating widespread and severe flooding. The Czech capital of Prague, and the German city of Dresden lie at the center of the storm and its devastation. The low lying lands along Europes most utilized river and its tributaries, the Danube, as well as the Elbe in Germany were exposed to the most severe flooding. The hardest hit countries were the centrally located nations of Czech, Slovakia, Germany and Austria.

Oct 11 2002 | Early Season Drought Reduced 2002/03 Crops in Eastern Europe
Drought has adversely affected much of the 2002/03 crop, with dryness beginning even before winter crops were sown in fall 2001. Generally, drought was most severe in Hungary and areas of Romania and Serbia, but it was also felt, to a lesser extent, in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Many farmers were forced to plant winter crops later than usual last autumn because of moisture deficits that existed during the traditional August though October planting window. Additionally, little rain fell during the winter and early spring. A significant change in the meteorological pattern didn't occur until late July. The rain that finally did come was useless for winter crops, which were almost all harvested. The rain did however, lower quality for late harvested wheat or for crops left in the fields. Any precipitation benefits derived for corn were reduced in the drought-afflicted areas because previous dryness had advanced crops well into their life cycle, past the most critical water-dependent stages. Some of the less drought-stressed areas however, had summer crops which did see significant improvements after an increase in precipitation during July and August.

Oct 25 2002 | Quality Concerns with Turkey's Cotton Harvest
Heavy rainfall along the western coastline of Turkey raises quality concerns for cotton harvested within the Izmir region bordering the Aegean Sea (see figure below). The Izmir cotton region produces approximately 30 percent of Turkeys total cotton production, while other major cotton regions have not received above average rainfall. Approximately 40 percent of the cotton has been picked within the Izmir region, 75 percent picked in the Cukurova region, and 45 percent picked in Southeastern Anatolia. The remaining cotton in the fields will be picked within the next 30 days.

Nov 18 2002 | Central Europe: Needed Precipitation Returns to Balkans
Rain has been in short supply over Central Europe this year. Spring and early-summer drought reduced 2002/03 winter grain production. However, increased precipitation during the second half of summer improved prospects for late-planted summer crops, including corn and sunflower. Storms with soaking rains occurred in the Balkans for the first autumn in three years, but this untimely precipitation has already threatened the recently planted 2003/04 crop. The rain has improved soil moisture, returning it to normal and above-normal for the first time in several years in Romania and Bulgaria All of Central Europe, particularly he hard-hit areas of the Balkans, have not seen this much precipitation occur at planting since 1999. Subsurface moisture levels increased, but recent precipitation has been heavy and occurred too quickly for optimal soil soaking. The bulk of the rain occurred during September and October.

Jan 16 2003 | Iraq Crop Production
Iraqs total production of major cereals (wheat, barley, rice and corn) has averaged less than 2 million tons in the last 5 years. Current production is estimated at less than half of the level in 1990. Agricultural productivity has suffered from limited investment and resources, shortages of inputs, deteriorating irrigation infrastructure, increasing soil salinity. Production was further reduced in recent years due to drought. Better weather during the 2001/02 growing season raised production 20 percent over the previous year. The current growing season (MY 2003/04) began in October-November, 2002 when winter grains were planted.

Jun 13 2003 | Iraq: Crop Condition Update
This years winter grain crops, consisting of wheat and barley, are currently being harvested. These crops were planted from September through mid December 2002. Wheat and barley are generally harvested in May and June, beginning in the south-central areas and ending in the north. Crop conditions this year are are improved over last year.

Aug 12 2003 | Central Europe's Dwindling Wheat and Corn Crop
USDA estimates central Europe's 2003/04 wheat production at 22.2 million tons, down 27 percent from last seasons near-average crop of 30.5 million. Harvested area is forecast at 7.9 million hectares, down 17 percent or 1.6 million hectares from last year. Yield is forecast at 2.8 tons/ha, well below the 3.4 t/ha average. The paltry 2003/04 wheat total stems from a combination of less planted area and poor yields. Producers faced a particularly short 2003 fall planting window, wedged between an unusually late summer harvest, heavy October rains, and an early onset to winter. These events delayed or prevented autumn sowing activities. In addition, winter was particularly harsh, having left higher than normal winterkill, including significant frost damage in early spring. Finally, since March, drought became especially destructive to wheat plants as they progressed through critical growing periods.

Dec 17 2003 | Middle East and Turkey:
Winter grain (wheat and barley) planting began in September and continues till the end of December in some parts of the region. Early season cumulative precipitation has been near- to above-normal for almost all major wheat growing areas of the Middle East and Turkey. Adequate rainfall created good soil moisture conditions for establishment of winter grains, except in Azarbayejan, in northwest Iran, and parts of northwestern Iraq, where rainfall has been below normal thus far this season. In western Turkey, precipitation in recent weeks provided beneficial moisture after a dry November and has brought seasonal totals closer to normal. Warmer-than-normal weather is aiding early crop growth in the lower elevations and more southerly growing areas of the region. Above-normal temperatures have also reduced snow cover for this time of year compared to last.

Dec 17 2003 | Iran: Bumper Crops Followed by Positive Start to New Season
Irans current winter grain season¶to be harvested in May-July 2004¶began with ample rainfall promoting winter grain planting and proper establishment. This positive start to the season comes on the heels of bumper grain crops from the previous season, MY 2003/04. In 2003/04, output was the second consecutive year of record output, following multiple years of drought-reduced crops. Favorable weather and intensified government support have elevated production and reduced the need for imports.

Mar 18 2004 | Central Europe: Winter Wrap-Up
The 2004/05 winter grain crop in central Europe benefited from a mild winter with above-average temperatures. The 2004/05 wheat crop is currently in much better shape than the 2003/04 crop, which suffered severely from both winterkill and spring drought. This year, winter precipitation was abundant in the north and about average in the south. Precipitation fell mainly as snow, protecting crops from the few cold outbreaks, unlike last year, when thin snow coverage coincided with extremely low temperatures. Therefore, winterkill this year should be minimal. Baring spring floods, the persistent and widespread snow coverage will contribute to good planting moisture in April for summer crops.

Jul 22 2004 | Central Europe and Balkan Countries
Favorable weather since last fall has left eastern and central Europe expecting bumper yields for both winter and summer crops. Wheat and barley are currently being harvested; summer crops continue developing, with harvest expected in another two to three months (September/October). Yields for the primary summer crops--corn and sunflower--look very promising, but final results will hinge on late-July and early-August weather.

Dec 2 2004 | Balkans: Winter Grain Conditions
Planting and establishment conditions for 2005/06 winter grains in the Balkan countries have been marked by dryness in the east, excessive wetness in the west, and late planting and above-normal temperatures throughout the region. In most of the countries, however, the planting delays did not result in a significant reduction in sown area. Soil moisture, even in the drier areas, was adequate for germination and crop establishment. Beneficial warm weather in October and early November enabled late-planted winter crops to become more fully established prior to the arrival of cooler weather in mid-November. Wheat is the dominant winter grain in the Balkans, comprising 75 to 80 percent of total winter grain area, and winter wheat accounts for nearly all of the region's total wheat production. Barley is the only other significant winter grain.

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