SOFIA, BULGARIA — Production in Bulgaria’s key grains is expected to decline in 2022-23 due to summer drought and pest infestations, according to Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA forecasts this year’s corn crop at 2.8 million tonnes, 18% lower than the 2021-22 harvest. The winter grains harvest is projected to be only slightly better with 6.3 million tonnes of wheat and 640,000 tonnes of barley, down 13% and 10%, respectively, year on year.

As for the 2023-24 harvest, Bulgarian farmers are expressing concern about the increasing costs of inputs, which may negatively impact yields in next year’s crops.

“Farmers are deeply concerned about their growing production costs,” the USDA said. “Many producers have estimated the annual increase in their expenses at over 50%, with an official inflation rate of 18% as of August. The highest growth in costs was recorded for fertilizers, followed by energy, plant protection chemicals and seeds.”