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Commodity Intelligence Report
December 17, 2009

Global Durum Output Higher for Second Consecutive Year

World production of durum has increased for the second consecutive year estimated at 31.9 million tons for 2009/10, up 2.3 million tons from 2008/09 and up 5.7 million tons from 2007/08.  This figure, however, is still below the record output reached in 2004/05 at 33.3 million tons.  The major exporting countries of the European Union (EU), Canada, and the United States combined, account for 51 percent of total durum production.  Favorable crop conditions in the United States produced a record high yield of 3.02 tons per hectare (44.9 bushels per acre), besting the previous high of 2.7 tons (5.2 bushels) set in 1992/93.  Canadian yield increased to 2.4 tons per hectare, but regional drought and cold conditions caused higher abandonment rate at the beginning of the season, lowering production by 2 percent from the previous year.  Italy, the EU’s largest producer, suffered a significantly smaller crop due to lower prices and wet planting conditions which reduced sown area.  In northern Africa meanwhile, a record yield of 2.0 tons per hectare and record production of 2.4 million tons were achieved in Morocco and Algeria respectively.  Abundant rainfall during the growing season contributed to the bumper crops in both countries.


Large production fluctuations in Northwest Afria are highly correlated to rainfall amounts

(Area, Yield, and Production Tables) (Durum Crop Calendar) (Regional Maps)


European Union

Durum wheat accounts for a small fraction of the estimated 138.3 million tons and 25.4 million hectares of total estimated European Union (EU) wheat for the 2009/10 marketing year.  On average, the EU produces about 8 million tons of durum wheat from 3.0 million harvested hectares.  Europe’s durum crop is concentrated along the drier Mediterranean Basin area with Italy, France, Spain, and Greece being the largest durum producing countries.  The EU’s 2009/10 durum crop is estimated to be 8.0 million tons.  Italy, the EU’s largest individual producer, had a significantly smaller crop in 2009/10 than it had during its bumper 2008/09 season.  Lower prices and excessively wet planting conditions reduced sown area.  Durum production in Italy is estimated at 3.5 million tons, down from 4.2 million in 2008/09. Area is reduced from 1.4 million hectares last year to 1.2 million this year.  Meanwhile, France’s crop remained unchanged at 2.2 million tons and 0.45 million hectares.  Spain’s durum wheat production is estimated to be up 0.1 million to 1.3 million tons as the hot and dry summer favored durum yields. Area remained unchanged from last year at 0.6 million hectares.  Greek production remained stable at an estimated 0.9 million tons from 0.5 million hectares.  (For more information, contact Bryan Purcell at 202-690-0138.)

North Africa


Northwest Africa typically is highly dependent on grain imports, but frequent and widespread rainfall greatly boosted 2009/10 yields, helping to lessen the region’s annual deficit.  Morocco produced a record total wheat crop this year as abundant rains kept soil moisture above average throughout the growing season. Excessive rainfall during the fall, however, led to unusually wet field conditions which kept cereal planting below the maximum available acreage. Durum comprises about a third of the total wheat in Morocco.  The 2009/10 durum production is estimated at a bumper 2.0 million tons, the largest since 2006/07, with a record yield of 2.0 tons per hectare.  Above average rainfall also spread across Algeria during the growing season, producing a record durum crop of 2.4 million tons, 0.7 million higher than last year and almost 0.4 million higher than the previous record. Over half the wheat produced in Algeria is durum.  Tunisia’s planting season started later than normal because rainfall was not as plentiful nor as frequent as usual during the late-autumn sowing period.  Favorably heavy winter and spring rains however, boosted yields resulting in a crop estimated at 1.0 million tons of durum.  Durum wheat typically comprises about 75 to 80 percent of the country’s wheat production.  (For more information, contact Bryan Purcell at 202-690-0138.)


Canada’s durum production for 2009/10 is forecast at 5.4 million tons, down 2 percent from last year. Harvested area is forecast at 2.23 million hectares, down 8 percent from 2008. Yield is forecast at 2.4 tons per hectare, which is 8 percent higher than the five-year average and 6 percent higher than last year’s yield.

Estimated production of durum has dropped due to lower seeded area and also higher abandonment according to the latest Statistics Canada report. Regional drought and cold conditions at the beginning of the season contributed to the higher abandonment rate. Despite less than desirable summer growing conditions, warm weather returned during the late summer which promoted rapid crop development. Approximately 80 percent of Canada durum is grown in Saskatchewan, 18 percent in Alberta, and 1 percent in Manitoba. (For more information, contact Arnella Trent at 202-720-0881.)

United States


Production for 2009 is estimated at 3.0 million tons (109 million bushels), up 0.7 million tons (25.2 million bushels) or 30 percent from 2008/09. Estimated harvested area is 983 thousand hectares (2.43 million acres), down 6 percent  from the previous year. The U.S. yield is a record high 3.02 tons per hectare (44.9 bushels per acre), 0.83 tons (12.3 bushels) higher than last year and 0.35 tons (4.0 bushels) higher than the previous record set in 1992. Yields are above last year’s level in all States except California. North Dakota’s yield of 2.62 tons per hectare (39.0 bushels per acre) is a record. Durum crop conditions were favorable this season aided by nearly ideal weather across most of the northern producing regions.  North Dakota is the largest producer with 56 percent; Montana 15 percent, California 16 percent, and Arizona 11 percent of the national crop this year.  Harvesting of the 2009 durum crop concluded in mid-October which is about normal.   (For more information, contact Jim Crutchfield at 202-690-0135.)



Wheat production in India, including durum, has increased significantly during the past decade. In the past five years, India has witnessed a steady increase of wheat production, with a five-year average of about 70 million tons. The USDA estimates India's 2009/10 wheat production at 80.58 million tons, up 1.98 million or 3 percent from 2008/09.

Durum wheat comprises a small portion of the total wheat grown in India. According to the Government of India’s Ministry of Agriculture, durum wheat is grown mainly in the central and western states including Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and parts of Punjab, south Rajasthan, and Maharashtra. Durum is predominantly grown during the Rabi or winter season, October to May.  The Rabi season was very favorable for wheat production in the durum growing areas in 2009/10.

The USDA estimates India’s durum production somewhere within the range of 1.5 and 2.5 million tons and almost all of it is consumed domestically. Information regarding estimates of durum production output is difficult to acquire as most crop forecasting and monitoring programs do not segregate it from wheat.  In general, government and private industries do not provide separate production estimates of durum. (For more information, contact Dath Mita at 202-720-7339.)



Australia’s durum is primarily grown in northern New South Wales and South Australia, and in recent years there has been significant production expansion in Queensland and Western Australia.  In general, durum is now more widely grown in Australia, in part, due to favorable international prices, very high quality grain, and improved export marketing facilities.

The USDA estimates Australia’s overall wheat production for 2009/10 season at 23.5 million tons, up 2 million or 9 percent from 2008/09.  Of this total, durum production is estimated to account for slightly over 2 percent.  Currently, the USDA estimates Australia’s durum production in the range of 400,000 to 500,000 tons.

Between 1994 and 2006 Australia’s durum production witnessed significant variations ranging from 37,000 to over 700,000 tons.  In 2002/03 and 2006/07 production declined mainly due to drought or unfavorable seasons.  Recent prospects of a return to normal weather, coupled with record prices and improved export marketing opportunities, have increased growers' interest in durum production.  (For more information, contact Dath Mita at 202-720-7339.)


The market for durum wheat in Russia is small and official statistics do not cite area or production numbers for durum.  Orenburg oblast, in the southern Volga Valley, is the main durum-production region in Russia.  Durum is grown also in Saratov oblast, which is also in the Volga Valley, and in Altai Krai in western Siberia.  Prospects for 2009/10 durum production are favorable:  reported wheat yields in the Volga Valley are similar to last year despite summer dryness, and crop conditions in Siberia were outstanding throughout the growing season.  Total output is estimated at approximately 1.4 million tons – about 2 percent of total wheat output.  Market demand is low, partly because pasta companies have begun to use other types of wheat.  Durum production is highly variable from year to year because it is grown largely in zones of risky agriculture, subject to frequent drought.  Durum is a spring wheat, planted in May and harvested in September.  (For more information, contact Mark Lindeman at 202-690-0143.)



Durum wheat is harvested beginning in May in Southeast and usually ends in mid-August in the Aegean region.  It mainly is grown in Southeast and Central Anatolia.  Production in 2009/10 is estimated at 2.5 million tons, up from 2.0 million in 2008/09.  Quality as well as quantity is improved over last year,  Due to the high price of durum wheat, 2009/10 plantings increased by 20 percent in Southeast and 15 percent in Central Anatolia over 2008/09.  (For more information, contact Michael Shean at 202-720-7366.)

Current USDA area and production estimates for grains and other agricultural commodities are available on IPAD's Agricultural Production page or at PSD Online.

For more information contact Paul Provance | | (202) 720-0873
USDA-FAS, Office of Global Analysis

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