Turkey acknowledged the setback to its harvest prospects
from poor weather, but proved less gloomy than US observers in estimating the
decrease in wheat production at 10.4%.
The country's official statistics office, in its first
estimates for crop production this year, forecast overall cereals production
falling by 10.1%, to 33.7m tonnes.
For wheat, output was seen falling by 10.4% to 19.8m tonnes,
and for barley by 12.7% to 6.9m tonnes.
Although Turkish officials are often more upbeat on grains
production volumes than some other observers, such as t the US Department of Agriculture,
they were this time more sanguine over the change in production too.
The USDA estimates the wheat crop at 15.0m tonnes, down
16.7% year on year, seeing the barley harvest at 5.8m tonnes, a drop of 21%.
Turkey's production prospects have been set back by drought
in many regions, but particularly the central area responsible for most of the
country's production, where many farmers ploughed in their crop rather than go
to the expense of harvesting it.
Temperatures hit record highs, for the time of year, throughout
Turkey in January and February, while low soil moisture delayed crop germination,
and a late frost, in early April, added to crop setbacks.
For markets, Turkey's setback is particularly significant as
the country is a major grains importer, although much is for processing for
pasta and flour for re-export.
Indeed, the Turkish grain board, the TMO, this week issued a
tender to purchase up to 190,000 tonnes of milling wheat and up to 100,000
tonnes of feed barley.
Turkey's government last month authorised the TMO to
purchase 4.2m tonnes of wheat, barley, rice and corn at a zero customs duty.
The country will import a record 5.50m tonnes of wheat alone
in 2014-15, the USDA believes, a 31% rise year on year, and ranking Turkey sixth
in the league of world importers, behind the likes of Algeria, Brazil and
The Turkish statistics office also forecast a drop of 11.1%
to 450,000 tonnes in chick pea production, although lentil output will rise by
1.3m tonnes to 400,000 tonnes.
Vegetables production will rise by 1.3% to 28.8m tonnes.
However, tobacco output will tumble by 22% to 70,000 tonnes,
and fruit production by 4.5% to 17.4m tonnes, led by an 18.4% drop in the apple
harvest, and a 55% slump in apricots.