TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Weather conditions are expected to lead to an 8.2% drop in Israel’s wheat production to 90 million tonnes in 2022-23, according to a report by the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The 2022-23 growing season began with late rains and almost no rainfall in some of the wheat growing areas. The production increase in 2021-22 was attributed to good precipitation during the mild winter with no extreme weather.

Total wheat imports are estimated at 1.74 million tonnes, a slight increase from the 1.7 million tonnes imported a year ago. Most feed wheat is imported from Ukraine.

“The quantity of wheat imports and its source might shift due to the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine that might influence wheat supplies and prices,” the USDA said.

Despite annual population growth of 2%, consumption remains stable. Consumption is estimated at 1.74 million tonnes, an increase of 32,000 tonnes.

An increasing number of consumers in Israel are looking for white flour substitutes, such as whole wheat and gluten-free products, which is considered healthier.

Local production of milling wheat covers a maximum of 15% of annual consumption. The market share of US wheat is expected to increase to 150,000 tonnes in 2022-23 mainly due to the political tension around the Black Sea, which might influence wheat prices and availability.