Turkey Wheat: High Turnover of Stocks Limits Import Forecast
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A large portion of winter crop production in Turkey is unirrigated. This increases the effect of yearly precipitation on yield and quality, which was especially significant for this year’s crop. The concerns about drought were most intensive in March. However, with a dramatic increase in precipitation throughout Turkey in the spring, optimism has replaced pessimism, especially for winter crops. The period from October 1, 2022, to February 28, 2023, was the driest rainfall year in the last 63 years; however, the dry period was somewhat compensated for by prolonged and heavy rains in the spring.
Turkey’s overall March rainfall increased by 56 percent compared to normal and 27 percent compared to March 2022. April rainfall increased by 51 percent compared to normal and 100 percent compared to April rainfall last year. May rainfall increased by 27 percent compared to normal and by 51 percent compared to May rainfall the previous year. June rainfall increased by 73 percent compared to normal and 8 percent compared to May rainfall last year.
The total Wheat production forecast is increased slightly to 18.5 million metric tons (MMT) for marketing year (MY) 2023/24 from an original forecast of 17.25 MMT in April because of better weather conditions between April and June in almost all regions except western Turkey, including the Marmara region. Better yields than last year due to improved weather conditions mostly offset production losses from the winter drought. Also, due to excessive spring rains, farmers in many regions had to take precautions with extra pesticide spraying to counter Wheat rust. However, the greater use negatively affected quality and yields in places.
Wheat planting is forecast to increase to 7.2 million hectares (ha) in MY 2023/24, up 200,000 ha compared to MY 2022/23. This higher number is based on the expectation that relatively more robust domestic Wheat prices will prompt farmers to plant more Wheat instead of cotton and sunflowers. The winter Wheat harvest occurs between mid-May and late July. This year’s crop took place two weeks earlier than last year, especially in the Marmara region, which is more affected by drought.
In the central and western parts of the country, where the harvest is not completed, the high precipitation experienced during June has caused quality concerns. However, well-timed spring rains after the historic drought in October boosted the morale of many farmers.
Wheat Trade in Turkey
Turkey’s Wheat import forecast for MY 2023/24 is 8.25 MMT. Enough to meet stable demand from Wheat product producers and exporters. The reason for the decrease in the Wheat import forecast is the high turnover of stocks from the previous year.
According to AgFlow data, Turkey imported 1.2 million tons of Wheat from Russia in July 2023, followed by Ukraine (0.2 million tons). Total imports hit 1.4 million tons in July 2023. Turkey imported about 12 MMT of Wheat in MY 2022/23, a record level. The leading suppliers were Russia, with 8.3 MMT, and Ukraine, with 3.2 MMT of Wheat. 340,000 MT was durum Wheat, while the rest was all milling Wheat. The historic winter drought and eliminating tariffs until May allowed the government and the private sector to record 12 million tons of Wheat imports last year.
Total Wheat exports from Turkey for MY 2023/24, including Wheat products, are forecast at 7.25 MMT, just above MY 2022/23, stemming from better domestic durum Wheat production, assuming stable demand from neighboring countries for Wheat products. Turkey generally does not export Wheat except for transshipments. However, there are rumors in the markets that durum Wheat export may be allowed in the coming months, dramatically increasing the total Wheat export numbers.
Other sources: USDA
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