Israel Wheat: Poland Pushes Well
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The USDA forecasts Israel’s Wheat production of 90 TMT in MY 2022/23, which is 8.2 percent lower than the 98 TMT in MY 2021/22. The increase in MY 2021/22 production was a direct result of high precipitation during the regular winter season with no extreme weather. In addition, political protests in recent years in some of the growing areas led to early harvesting for silage use to limit the burning of fields, as Palestinian protestors burnt some 400 hectares of Wheat fields along the Gaza Strip border in the past. This was not the case this season, and farmers could cultivate and harvest most of their plots. Despite these factors, Wheat production in MY 2021/22 still did not hit the ten-year average of 106 TMT.
About 70 percent of Israeli Wheat is planted in the south, and the rest in the central and northern regions. Average rainfall in the southern Wheat-producing regions generally reaches 450 millimeters (mm) per year, while the northern regions receive 500-550 mm yearly. Annual rainfall is concentrated during the winter months, from October until April. Despite the average rain, in some cases, the distribution of the rainfall was not normal, leading yields to fall below average. The last spring’s precipitation and soil moisture distribution were consistent with the annual averages in the central and northern parts of the country. While in any given year, about 100,000 ha of Wheat are planted, only about 70 percent are harvested for milling, while the remainder is used as fodder for livestock feed. Post anticipated these levels to remain steady during the last year.
Wheat consumption in MY 2022/23 is forecasted at 1.74 MMT, an increase of 32 TMT from MY 2021/22 figures. Post is revising upwards total Wheat distribution for MY 2021/22 by 71 TMT, or 3.3 percent, from 2.15 TMT. This is mainly due to slightly higher demands from feed lots and more extensive stocks. Due to current political events and grain availability, tight supplies from the Black Sea Basin (BSB) can lead to higher demand for US milling Wheat. For human consumption, Israeli consumers have a growing preference to use substitutes for white Wheat flour, such as rice, spelt, teff, and rye flour.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, since MY 2020/21, Israelis moved to more home cooking which led to a significant increase in demand for Wheat flour and pasta products. Feed Wheat consumption is expected to be influenced by market prices and availability in the BSB, the primary source of grains for Israel. The BSB supplied 37 percent of the grain and feed imported by Israel in MY 2021/22, 6 percent lower than MY 2020/21. Tight supplies, mainly in Russia and Ukraine, drove importers to source grain and feed elsewhere.
Israel’s Wheat Import
In general, Israel imports 60% to 70% of its Wheat from Russia and Ukraine, much of the rest from Hungary and Romania, and a small percentage from the US and Canada, said Kobi Polturak, CEO of Israeli Flour Mills, which provides some 15% of Israel’s ground flour. We’ve succeeded for now in bringing in some extra flour from Canada and Estonia, but it’s not so simple,” said Polturak, who works with brokers to source the flour mill’s Wheat.
According to the AgFlow data, Russia led its import market with 0.95 million tons of Wheat in the last year, followed by Poland (0.17 million tons), Ukraine (0.15 million tons), and Romania (0.13 million tons). Total import hit 1.7 million tons and 60,500 tons in 2022 and Jan 2023, respectively.
Other sources: TIMES OF ISRAEL
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