Rainfall during January and February continued to be below normal for most of Iran and eastern Syria. Rainfall over the next few weeks across Iran is required to stabilize the 2000/01 wheat prospects as a few well-timed rain events could change the dryness situation during the yield sensitive heading crop stage. Last year, severe drought in Iran reduced the 1999/2000 wheat and barley crops by a third, and Iran's wheat production was the smallest in the decade at 8.5 million tons. Wheat imports for the 1999/2000 marketing year are currently near record levels. Unless weather conditions improve dramatically in the coming weeks, wheat imports will remain large in 2000/01.
The 2000/01 wheat crop in Syria has experienced long-term dryness, but rainfall in mid-January across the eastern growing region temporarily eased crop stress. Turkey's wheat crop received near normal precipitation throughout most of the growing season. Rainfall across northern Saudi Arabia was also favorable for pasture conditions and may lessen the need for feed grain imports. Since Iraq does not transmit weather observations through the World Meteorological Organization, rainfall data for Iraq is extrapolated based on reports from surrounding countries. Iraq, like Iran, is experiencing dry weather again this season.
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