SOFIA, BULGARIA — Grain production in Bulgaria in the 2022-23 marketing year has declined by 26% year-on-year due to last summer’s drought, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Bulgaria saw production declines of 12% for wheat (6.4 million tonnes), 11% for barley (625,000 tonnes) and 26% for corn (2.55 million tonnes), the report said.

Exports also have been depressed due to increased instability in the Black Sea region and farmers holding stocks in expectation for higher prices. As of Jan. 31, Bulgaria had exported 46% less wheat, 76% less barley and 81% less corn than it had at the same time in 2021-22, the USDA said.

“The war in Ukraine made the market highly unpredictable and volatile,” the report said. “Since Bulgarian grain is exported on the Black Sea basis, exports were hit by all war-related uncertainties and risks related to logistics, insurance and financing.”

The USDA projects record-high ending stocks for wheat and barley and “potential logistical challenges by harvest time.”

“The early forecast for 2023-24 is for higher grain production if the weather remains favorable and depleted soil moisture reserves are recovered in the spring,” the USDA said.