ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN — Generally favorable conditions for spring grain planting will see Kazakhstan harvest 14 million tonnes of wheat in marketing year 2023-24, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture.

The latest forecast for wheat is 1 million tonnes higher than FAS Post Astana’s original outlook in April with no significant changes to planted area at 12.9 million hectares, about 10,000 more hectares than 2022-23. Kazakhstan is estimated to have produced 16.4 million tonnes of wheat the previous marketing year.

Wheat exports are seen at 9.5 million tonnes, the same as 2022-23 estimates, but higher than the 8.09 million tonnes shipped in 2021-22. At 2.99 million tonnes, beginning stocks are significantly higher than the 1.49 million tonnes in 2022-23, the result of export restrictions imposed in 2021-22.

“Producers and exporters noted that challenges they faced in 2022-23 of limited rail capacity, outdated infrastructure, and delayed Value Added Tax (VAT) reimbursements would continue affecting wheat exports in 2023-24,” FAS said. 

Domestic wheat consumption for the Central Asian nation’s 19 million people is projected at 6.8 million tonnes, a number expected to remain stable for the next few years, according to traders. In April 2023, Kazakhstan implemented a six-month ban on wheat imports by road in response to competition from Russia. 

Barley production also showed promise this spring, with FAS expecting a harvest of 3 million tonnes for 2023-24 from 2.35 million planted hectares. This is down from 3.3 million tonnes the previous year but up from 2.36 million tonnes in 2021-22. Barley consumption, which is mainly used for animal feed, is estimated at 2 million tonnes in 2023-24.