Along with maize and rice, wheat is one of the most important food crops. Wheat is a cereal grain, originating from the Levant region of the Near East and Ethiopian Highlands, but the crop is now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 MT, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize (784 MT) and rice (651 MT). In 2009, world production of wheat was 682 MT, making it the second most-produced cereal after maize (817 MT), and with rice as close third (679 MT). It is grown on about 220 million hectares worldwide, covering more land area than any other crop. Major wheat producing countries include China, India, USA, Russia and France.
- Triticum aestivum, Triticum durum
- Occurrence & Agricultural Importance in this Country:
- Cultivation Areas:
- Wheat is, and has been, the most important commodity food in Syria; Wheat occupies 1.6 MHa which amounts to 83% of the total cereals planted and 26.5 % of the total cultivated land.
- Main Varieties:
- Variety selection is a very important factor influencing productivity and varietal characteristics such as date of maturity, local climate, grain quality, resistance to pests and diseases and frost tolerance are critical to success.
Varieties cultivated locally in Syria include:
Local varieties: Horani, Hamari, Yabrodi (Bayadi), Salamoni
Imported varieties: Senator Cabli, Jorjio, Sham 1/3/5/7, Bohooth 1/5, Jazera 17, Duma 1 3
T. aestivum: Imported varieties: Pitic 62, Mexipak 65, Lerma rojo, Anya 66 , Yaki, Syromix, Jori, Sham 2/4/6/8, and Duma 2/4
The average yield in Syria is 1.93 T/Ha (while the world average is about 2.8 T/Ha.
- Marketing Information and Uses:
- Mainly used for food but also used as feed/fodder
- In 1996 Syria wheat had developed sufficiently in Syria to allow exports to some countries. However the situation is not stable and in 2009, due to the severe drought, Syria had to import some quantities from the EU in order to maintain the level of its strategic stocks at 5 million Tonnes.
- Crop Management:
Cultivation conditions and methods:
- Soil Type:
- Wheat can grow in different soils ranging from sandy to heavy types. Good soil drainage is a key factor for good productivity. Heavy, deep, humus-rich, well-aerated soils with a high water capacity and a pH between 5.5 and 7.5 are preferable. Nutrient-rich clay and black earth soils are ideal.
- Of all cereals, it is the most widely adapted; the highest yields, however, are achieved in the cooler parts of its ecological range. Wheat develops best at temperatures of 10-24°C and so in warm climates it tends to be grown at high altitudes or during the winter season.
- Water Requirements:
- Water availability is more important for germination and initial crop growth and development. Irrigation is also very critical during pollination in order to produce good grain quality. Typical irrigation needs are 300–500 mm annual rainfall equivalent in a season, similar to the average annual precipitation in some wheat producing regions in Syria. However, because of variable rainfall, wheat is increasingly cultivated with supplemental irrigation, while in drier areas (<200 mm annual precipitation) the crop is fully irrigated.
- Nutrition Requirements:
- Soil should be subject to soil analysis for nutrient availability.
- Harvesting Period:
- Irrigated wheat can normally be harvested from mid-May; the rain fed crop is harvested later, in June.
- Harvesting Methods:
- Harvest is largely mechanised