Country has taken on expanded role in wheat exports in recent years.
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.  — Grain production in Lithuania is expected to total 5.25 million tonnes in the 2017-18 marketing year, up from a forecast total of 5.078 million tonnes in 2016-17 but down from 6.030 million tonnes in 2015-16, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“In 2016-17 despite a larger planted area, the grain harvest was lower due to much lower yields,” the USDA said. “After a long period of very mild winter, a sudden drop of temperatures to minus 25 degrees Celsius was seen at the end of December 2015, beginning January 2016. Such a sudden change of temperatures in a short time did not allow plants to adjust to strong winter conditions like frost wind on fields uncovered by snow. Unfavorable weather conditions during harvest were another reason for a lower crop in MY 2016-17.”

The USDA said production of all grains, except corn, was lower in the 2016-17 marketing year as compared to 2015-16. Mixed grains and triticale decreased 29%, barley and rye by 26%, wheat by 13% and oats by 6%, the agency noted. Meanwhile, production of corn increased by 50%, primarily reflecting what had been an extremely bad corn crop in 2015.

Wheat is the main grain planted in Lithuania, and in the 2016-17 marketing year share of wheat acreage in total grain plantings increased and amounted to 68%, while the share of wheat production in total grain output reached 75%.

Lithuania has increased its presence in the global wheat export market in recent years.

“Total grain export from Lithuania has grown for the last five years, with wheat having an 85% share in total Lithuanian grain exports in MY 2015-16,” the USDA said. “After a bad harvest in MY 2016-17, grain exports from Lithuania diminished to 3 million tonnes following a record export result of 4.1 million tonnes of grain in 2015. Exports are driven by growing demand from Middle Eastern countries. Soft wheat for feed takes the biggest share exports to these destinations. Lithuania’s export of barley is very unstable and strongly depends on the local market situation. It is forecast that barley exports will increase again after the harvest in 2017.

“In MY 2016-17 grain imports are forecast to increase in comparison with MY 2015-16. It is estimated that grain imports of grain will amount to 0.27 million tonnes, 22% more than in MY 2015-16. The level of grain stocks diminished due to increased domestic demand for rye, barley and corn for feed purposes.”