Durum wheat, Italian production down in 2022

Campo di grano

The Italian production of 2022 durum wheat could be about 16% lower than the previous year, mainly due to the water deficit recorded during the post-sowing phase and the high temperatures of the last months. This is what emerges from a first survey conducted by Ismea in the first days of July, when the harvest operations are almost completely finished. The decline in production envisaged by the Institute is the result of the reduction in areas destined for durum wheat (-1.4% according to the sowing intentions noted by Istat) and the reduction in yields per hectare, which would be, on national average, to 2,8 t/ha, the minimum of the last 5 years.

On the basis of the information collected, the reduction in yields should affect almost all the main areas: from Apulia (-25%), Sicily (-15%) and Basilicata (-10%) to Marche (-20%) and Emilia-Romagna (-15%), bringing the national production to 3,4 million tonnes in the 2022/23 campaign. From a qualitative point of view, the grain should have good quality standards throughout the territory with an average protein content between 11 and 13% on dry matter.

Also France has seen a deterioration in production expectations;it is always due to the persistent hot and dry climate, and led the EU to revise its production forecast to 7 million tons, 9.2% less on an annual basis.

On the contrary, North American harvest forecasts, after last year’s collapse, indicate a recovery. The most updated estimates of the IGC (International Grain Council), show in fact for 2022 a global production of durum wheat of 32.9 million tons (+7.4% compared to the previous bad campaign) due to the increase in the Canadian supply (estimated at over 6 million tons, after 2.7 million last year) and that of the United States (2.1 million tons, more than double last year).

Meanwhile, from the markets come the first signs of relaxation of the price lists after the blaze recorded from the end of 2021, that touched the record in the last week of June. The quotations of the foreign, not communitarian product in the third week of July have been attested to 558,75 euros/t, in decrease of 1% on weekly base and of 7.6% regarding the last week of June, whereas Community durum wheat remained stable at 540 euro/t in the first three weeks of the month (it was 575 euro/t in the last week of June). The same weekly trend is also observed for the national product, with durum wheat until the third week of the current month is equal to 507.50 euro/t in both Bologna and Foggia, while in the last week of June the price was, respectively, 562,50 euro/t and 577,50.

However, it is still early, as Ismea points out, to identify a well-defined orientation of quotations, in view of some critical elements that remain in the fundamentals of the market. The worldwide demand is in fact previewed to increase to 33,6 million tons in 2022/23, on higher levels compared to the offer; this data prelude to an ulterior contraction of the final supplies (-10.7% and 5,5 million tons in 2022/23). At the same time, there is still some uncertainty about the production results in North America, considering the climatic anomalies that now occur more and more frequently.