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Commodity Intelligence Report
December 22, 2010

Global Durum Output Falls in 2010/11 Marketing Year

World durum production for the 2010/11 marketing year is estimated at 3.0 million metric tons, 12 percent lower than 2009/10, largely because of a decline in Canada. A lower price forecast and difficult planting conditions reduced planting conditions. Output in North Africa was lower than the previous year following a bumper crop in 2009/10. European Union production is estimated down nearly 2 percent with increases in France and Italy more than offset by declines in Spain and Greece. Production in the United States is also estimated down nearly 2 percent on reduced yield. Conditions for the Middle East were generally favorable, where durum wheat varieties showed greater tolerance to a yellow rust epidemic than did bread wheat varieties.



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



Durum production in Canada is estimated at 3.0 million tons in 2010/11 compared with 5.4 million last year. Durum seeded area dropped by 42 percent because of lower anticipated Canadian Wheat Board pool prices during planting and excessive rains at planting time. Flooding and waterlogged conditions in the major durum producing areas impeded sowing activities. Area seeded is estimated at 1.27 million hectares in 2010 as compared to 2.29 million a year ago and the lowest since 1998. Some fields in southern Saskatchewan and southern Alberta that were planted early suffered drowning of seedlings leading to higher than normal abandonment. The durum abandonment rate for Canada is estimated to be 2.4 percent, higher than the 5-year average of 1.5 percent. Cooler temperatures and wetter conditions than normal continued throughout the growing season delaying maturity and eventually harvest. Yields dropped by 1 percent in 2010 from 2009 because of less than ideal growing conditions. Consequently, durum production is estimated to have dropped by 44 percent or 2.4 million tons from last year. (For further information contact Arnella Trent at 202-720-0881.)

EU Durum Wheat

The European Union’s (EU) 2010/11 durum wheat production is estimated at 7.9 million tons from 2.7 million hectares. This compares to 8.1 million tons from 2.7 million hectares last year and 8.0 million tons from 2.9 million hectares for the five-year average. The 2010/11 durum crop represents about 6 percent of the total 136.3 million ton EU wheat crop and about 10 percent of its 25.9 million hectares. Of the individual nations within the EU only a few, primarily in the south along the Mediterranean produce durum wheat: Italy, Greece, France, and Spain. Combined, they produce 98-99 percent of the EU’s durum wheat. Italy contributes the largest amount, estimated at 3.6 million tons from 1.2 million hectares, representing 71 percent of its total wheat area and 54 percent of its total wheat production. Greece’s 2010/11 durum crop is estimated at 0.9 million tons from 0.5 million hectares, representing 67 percent of its total wheat area and 64 percent of its total wheat production. France produced an estimated 2.45 million tons from 0.5 million hectares (9 percent of its wheat area and 6 percent of its production). Spain’s durum production is estimated at 0.85 million tons or 15 percent of its 5.5 million ton crop, and durum was harvested from an estimated area of 0.475 million hectares. (For further information contact Bryan Purcell at 202-690-0138.)

Northwest Africa

Durum wheat production in Northwest Africa for 2010/11 is estimated at 4.4 million tons from 2.8 million hectares. This represents a 25 percent drop in production from last season, primarily due to yield decreases due to unfavorable weather. The biggest reduction in durum wheat in Northwest Africa was in Tunisia, which typically produces about 80 percent of its wheat as durum wheat. Tunisia’s durum wheat production dropped 50 percent to 0.7 million tons from 0.6 million hectares versus 1.4 million tons from 0.6 million hectares last season. A severe drought in Tunisia significantly reduced its 2010/11 grain production. Morocco’s rainfall was excessive from December through March, drastically reducing their grain production. Morocco’s durum production dropped to 1.6 million tons from last year’s bumper 2.1 million tons. Area is estimated down 0.1 million tons to 0.9 million. Morocco’s 2010/11 durum crop however, is still 0.3 million tons over the five-year average. Algeria’s durum crop dropped 13 percent to 2.1 million tons from last year’s record 2.4 million tons but remained 0.3 million above the five-year average. Algeria’s durum area is estimated to be unchanged from last year at 1.3 million hectares. (For further information contact Bryan Purcell at 202-690-0138.)

United States:

Production for 2010 is estimated at 2.9 million tons, down 51,000 tons or 2 percent from 2009. Grain area harvested is 1.0 million hectares, down 40,000 hectares or 4 percent from the previous year. The U.S. yield is 2.85 tons per hectares down from the previous record high of 3.02 tons per acre. Planting began in late April, slightly behind average. The early season was characterized by generally cool, wet conditions that hampered sowing progress particularly the last portion of the crop which was not completed until mid-June. Growing conditions were mostly favorable with abundant moisture levels and cool temperatures that promoted yield potential, but delayed crop development. Harvest began in mid-August, slightly later than normal. Precipitation during the month of September also delayed harvested activities. Harvesting of the 2010 durum crop concluded in mid-October which is behind average. North Dakota is the largest producer with 63 percent; Montana 17 percent, and California and Arizona each producing about 9 percent of the national crop. (For more information, contact Jim Crutchfield at 202-690-0135.)


Growing conditions were favorable for small grains in Turkey for the 2010/11 marketing year crop. Area harvested was down from 2009/10, yield and quality were close to short term average levels. Durum wheat production in the Southeast Anatolia Region in southeast Turkey for 2010/11 is estimated at 1.2 million tons and in Central Anatolia in west central Turkey is estimated at 1.1 million tons. Total durum production for Turkey is estimated at 2.7 million tons, down 0.1 million from last year. Durum wheat in the Karaman Province of the Central Anatolia Region was damaged by strong winds and heavy rainfall in early July 2010, causing a reduction in both quality and quantity. There was a low production level in 2008/09, largely due to drought conditions. Output levels recovered strongly in 2009/10, and with a high quality crop led to record levels of pasta exports. The quality of the durum wheat harvested in southeast Turkey and Central Anatolia was mostly normal in 2010/11 but output was 10 – 15 percent lower than in 2009/10. (For more information, contact Michael Shean at 202-720-7366.)


Abundant rainfall in the 2010/11 winter grain growing season combined with warmer than normal temperatures has led to the best growing conditions in recent years, a major improvement compared to drought-impaired crops of the past two seasons. Major rainfed crop regions had more dense and vigorous crop vegetation during the sensitive reproductive stage than is normally the case. Irrigation supplies to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers were helped by seasonal precipitation over southeastern Turkey that was much better than the previous two years. The yellow rust fungus that affected much of the Middle East and North Africa appears not to have been a serious problem for durum wheat varieties.

About 45 percent of area planted to durum is irrigated, supplying more than 72 percent of the durum wheat harvest. Traditionally, Al-Hasskeh province in north eastern Syria is the major producer of durum. About 35 percent of the durum area is in that province, followed by Aleppo in northern Syria, (14 percent of planted area), and Hama in central Syria (8 percent of planted area). The balance of 43 percent of planted area is unevenly spread among the other 10 provinces. (For more information, contact Michael Shean at 202-720-7366.)


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 75 million tons. The USDA estimates India's 2010/11 wheat production at 80.7 million tons, approximately the same as 2009/10.

Durum wheat comprises a small portion (varies between 1-3 percent) of the total wheat grown in India. The USDA estimates India’s durum production somewhere within the range of 1 and 2.5 million tons and almost all of it is consumed domestically. In 2010-11 season durum production was estimated at 1.2 million tons. Information regarding estimates of durum production output is hard to come.  Government and private crop forecasting or monitoring programs do not offer separate estimates of durum wheat.

According to the Government of India (GOI) 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. The majority of durum production is now commonly done under contract farming. Durum is predominantly grown during the Rabi or winter season, October to May.  (For more information, contact Dath Mita at 202- 720- 7339.)



Although Rosstat (the Federal Statistics Service) does not cite area or production numbers for durum, local specialists indicate that 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 2010/11 durum production are poor this year due to severe drought in the Volga District and neighboring regions. Reported wheat yields in the Volga Valley are about half of last year’s level, but crop conditions in Siberia were relatively favorable. Total output is estimated at approximately 1.0 million tons – about 2 percent of total wheat output. Market demand for durum wheat in Russia is low, and 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.)


Australia’s durum is primarily grown in northern New South Wales and South Australia, and in recent years there has been significant production expanding in Queensland and Western Australia. The USDA estimates Australia’s overall wheat production for 2010/11 season at 24 million tons, up 1.5 million or 7 percent from 2009/10. Of this, durum production is estimated to account for slightly over 2 percent. Currently the USDA estimates Australia’s durum production at 400,000 tons.

Between 1994 and 2006 Australia’s durum production witnessed significant variations ranging from 37,000 to over 400,000 tons. In 2001/02 and 2006/07 production declined mainly due to drought or unfavorable seasons. Recent prospects of return to normal weather coupled with record prices and improved export marketing opportunities have increased growers interest in durum production.

Australia’s durum market potential continues to be high and expanding. 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. However, according to scientists in Australia, durum production continues to face a number of environmental challenges including the fact that current varieties are not adapted to all wheat growing regions. The major factors limiting adaptation to a wider range of environments include problems of salt tolerance, water use efficiency, and disease resistance. (For more information, contact Dath Mita at 202-720-7339)

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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