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Commodity Intelligence Report
July 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.

Favorable precipitation combined with mild winter temperatures helped to produce an above-average wheat crop that is currently being harvested. The northern half of Iraq, in particular the state of Nineveh, has been the major producer of winter wheat until recently (Fig. 1.a). Iraq’s wheat area has shifted due to regional conflict, with planted area decreasing in the Mosul region and increasing in the provinces further south, according to data from the Iraq Central Office for Statistics (Fig. 1.b).

Large segments of the important northern and central wheat growing regions received over 600 millimeters of precipitation for the season. In contrast, however, a significant amount of the wheat-growing area in Nineveh received below-average precipitation as shown in Figure 2.a. The map of the satellite-based normalized difference vegetation index anomaly (NDVI – measure of plant biomass) indicated an above average-crop for most of the nation (Fig. 2.b). Precipitation in the states of Erbil, Kikurk, Salah ad Din, and Diyala was well above average, with NDVI that exceeded the average but were below last year (Fig. 3). The exceptional precipitation situation also held true for the Center-south region which includes the very productive states of Wasit, Qadisiya, and Najaf. Both precipitation and NDVI were above average and generally above the levels observed in recent years (Fig. 4). Further confirmation of a good harvest comes from a recent report out of Najaf that states the wheat harvest production for this area has surpassed recent years.


Exceptions to an above-average crop can be seen in the region to the east of the Tigris River in Nineveh where below-average NDVI were noted (Fig. 2.a). Much of this area is contested and visual observations of spring satellite imagery indicated much less planted area compared to last year (Fig. 5) as well as lower precipitation (Fig. 2.a). While not as dramatic, lower planted area was also noted for portions of the Kikurk area (Fig. 6).

Because of the favorable precipitation, national yield is estimated to have increased more than 15 percent above last year. Production, while above average, is slightly down from last year due to lower planted area and insufficient precipitation in the western state of Nineveh.


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

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For more information contact William Baker | | (202) 260-8109
USDA-FAS, Office of Global Analysis

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