The positions of Russian hard wheat in the global supply and demand balances are very insignificant, as opposed to soft wheat. To date, the planted areas under durum wheat in Russia total nearly 550 thsd ha, whereas in the late 1980s the areas reached 4 mln ha, reported the Deputy Director at Zlak-Service LLC, Alexey Rybnitsky, during his report within frames of the international conference "KazakhGrainExport 2019" in Istanbul, on September 19.
For several recent years, the figure remained at the same level, without significant fluctuations in one side or the other. Unfortunately, the accurate calculations are complicated, due to the fact that to date, the statistics authorities in Russia monitor the wheat harvest in accordance with the classification "wheat" without any division into hard and soft grain varieties, the expert explained.
The general production of durum wheat in Russia is estimated at nearly 700 thsd tonnes, a decrease of less than 2% compared with the worldwide production of the grain.
A.Rybnitsky said that mainly six regions of Russia cultivate durum wheat: Orenburg oblast — 230 thsd ha, Chelyabinsk oblast — 160 thsd ha, Saratov oblast — 45 thsd ha, Altai Krai, Omsk oblast, Stavropol Krai — 30 thsd ha each.
According to him, the export shipments of durum wheat are not too large. They usually take place in the period of October-February, in small batches of 3-5 thsd tonnes, and the general monthly volumes vary within no more than 10 thsd tonnes. Italy and Turkey are the main importers of Russian durum. However, the reporting countries have somewhat different quality requirements for durum wheat. Turkey usually purchases the grain with less strict quality requirements in comparison with the Italian partners.
As for the production of high-quality pasta, Italy usually uses either its own wheat or the grain purchased from Canada, the USA and other leaders in the production of high-quality durum. Russian durum wheat does not demonstrate the high quality characteristics, and importers mainly purchase the grain to reduce the cost and optimize the milling blends, due to its relatively low price, the expert added.