WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Turkish soybean area and production for market year 2015 are estimated at about 25,000 hectares and 90,000 tonnes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) reported on Nov. 25. Competition from other crops such as corn, wheat and peanut in the soy growing areas had adverse effect on soy in farmers planting decisions.

Turkey imported 2,200,000 tonnes of soybeans and 450,000 tonnes of soybean meal during the market year 2014. While soy imports increased 38%, soymeal imports declined 37%. Increases in crushing capacity and industrial use of soy oil were the reasons for the soy import increase. The U.S. supplied about 805,000 tonnes of soybeans and 47,000 tonnes of soybean meal. Since July, the Biosafety Board had approved a total of four biotech soy events and nine corn events, which somewhat eased the import problems that traders were facing.

Market year 2015 domestic soybean planting is estimated at about 25,000 hectares and 90,000 tonnes, down from 35,000 hectares and 135,000 tonnes last year. In the Cukurova region, where 95% of the local soybean crop is grown, farmers switched to wheat and corn. Also a three-fold increase in local peanut prices persuaded some farmers to plant peanuts in the region.

In market year 2014, due to the contamination of unapproved biotech events in shipments, the industry and traders suffered rejection of cargos and had to face heavy financial losses. After months of negotiations with the Turkish officials, Besd-Bir (Turkish Poultry Meat Producers Association) had applied for approval of a total of nine biotech soy events along with 14 corn, 10 cotton and four canola varieties under the speedy application regime.

Accordingly, the Biosafety Board started to approve some of these events. In July, the board announced approval of three corn events and two soy events. In November, the board also approved two soy events and six corn events. The remaining 24 traits are still undergoing risk and socioeconomic assessments. Prior to the recent approvals, only three soy and 15 corn biotech events were approved for feed use in Turkey. The recent new approvals are not viewed by the trade as full relief, but somewhat of a relief, and they expect to face fewer problems in coming months during imports. The industry is expecting the rest of the events to be approved in a relatively shorter time and imports are expected to go back to normal flow.

Favorable domestic crushing margins continued to fuel soymeal production increases. Market year 2014 production increased about 90% and reached 875,000 tonnes. Provided that crushing margins continue as they are, domestic soymeal production is expected to remain high since crushers will continue to utilize the large capacity that they have.

Turkey has imported a total of 450,000 tonnes of soybean meal during market year 2014, down about 37% compared to the last marketing year. The reason for the decline was the increases in domestic production as a result of favorable domestic crushing margins fueled by increase industrial use of soy oil. Argentina (196,000 tonnes), Brazil (90,000 tonnes) and Ukraine (60,000 tonnes) were the leading suppliers. The U.S. also supplied 47,000 tonnes of soymeal during the same period. Turkey exported about 52,000 tonnes of soymeal during market year 2014. Iraq (33,000 tonnes), North Cyprus (12,000 tonnes), and Syria (2,500 tonnes) were the main destinations.

Main soy oil usage area in Turkey continues to be poultry feed and industrial use.  Since no genetically engineered soybeans have been approved for food use in Turkey, soy oil can’t be used in food if it is produced from biotech soybeans. Due to the large domestic crushing for industrial use, Turkey didn’t import soy oil in market 2014. Exports, however, were about 6,500 tonnes, of which 3,300 tonnes were to Iraq, 2,300 tonnes to North Cyprus, and 500 tonnes to Israel.