A rainy summer has impacted Bulgaria’s wheat harvest, but fears that the country will fall short of the amount necessary to satisfy domestic consumption were overblown, the Agriculture Ministry said on September 11.
A total of 5.4 million tonnes of wheat have been harvested, with only 0.09 per cent of area left to go, a drop of 6.3 per cent compared to last year, when the country had a bumper harvest, helped by favourable weather conditions, the ministry said.
Average yield was 4.74 tonnes a hectare, down 9.9 per cent compared to 2017, but the wheat cultivated area was up 3.8 per cent year-on-year.
Overall, 53 per cent of the wheat was of high enough quality to be used for baking, which would meet the demand of the country’s flour manufacturers, the ministry said.
The lower yield has pushed purchase prices up by nearly 25 per cent, to an average of 354 leva a tonne for bread wheat and 318 leva a tonne for animal feed wheat, according to the ministry.
This year’s barley harvest was 501 200 tonnes, with 0.13 per cent of the cultivated area yet to be harvested. This was 19.2 per cent lower than in 2017, in part due to the reduced cultivated area (a decline of 12 per cent) and lower yield (down 8.2 per cent.)
The timing of the rains this summer had a more positive impact on the expected corn and sunflower harvests, the ministry said.
Only 2.9 per cent of the corn cultivated area has been harvested, at a yield of 7.39 tonnes a hectare, or 40.2 per cent higher than in 2017. The total corn harvest was expected to exceed 2017’s total production of 2.5 million tonnes.
Sunflower harvesting was more advanced, with 42 per cent of total cultivated area already harvested, at a yield of 2.63 million tonnes a hectare, or 20.6 per cent higher than in 2017. The total sunflower harvest was estimated at about 1.8-1.9 million tonnes, below 2017, mainly due to the sharp decline in cultivated area, which was 17.9 per cent lower year-on-year.
(Photo: Christa Richert/sxc.hu)