Herbicides Have Helped Stabilize Wheat Production in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan ranks in the top 10-15 wheat-producing countries in the world depending on weather conditions (drought is a significant factor 2 out of 5 years). Kazakhstan is a major exporter of wheat with about 4 million tons exported annually. Weeds are a key limiting factor in Kazakhstan’s wheat production; however, recent increases in herbicide use have significantly reduced yield losses.

“Although weather remains the single most important determinant for grain yield in Kazakhstan, improvements in crop management practices fueled by the growing State subsidies have contributed to the recent increase and relative stabilization in wheat yield.”

“According to specialists at the Ministry of Agriculture, nearly half the total cultivated area in Kazakhstan is infested with weeds, including 2.5 million hectares infested with black oats. Between 1999 and 2002, farmers applied virtually no herbicides for the control of black oats on approximately 320,000 hectares. In 2003, treatment expanded to 1.0 million hectares thanks to government subsidies of about US$2 million which reduced farmers’ cost of chemicals by 30 to 40 percent. Herbicide subsidies increased to nearly US$3 million in 2004 and the treated area grew to about 1.4 million hectares. Specialists report that weed infestation has decreased by about 15 percent every year since the anti-black oat campaign was launched.”

Author: Mark Lindeman
Affiliation: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service
Title: Kazakhstan Wheat Production: An Overview
Available at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/pecad2/highlights/2005/03/Kazakh_Ag/index.htm

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