January 9, 2014


Ukraine forecast grain harvest of 60 million tonnes in 2014



Ukraine's grain production is expected to reach 60.1 million tonnes due to a strong start for autumn-sown crops, an increase of about 3.5 million tonnes from 2013, according to UkrAgroConsult's forecast.


The forecast comes despite a dismal start to autumn sowings, which were delayed beyond the ideal planting window due to persistent rains. However, warmer-than-usual conditions in October and November allowed farmers to catch up on most of their autumn sowings, now seen falling less than 400,000 hectares for wheat. Moistened soils also ensured a strong start for the crops.


By early December, 99.9% of winter grains had emerged compared with 95.5% a year before. The proportion of the crop rated "good" or "satisfactory" was well above 90%, the best result in at least five years.


However, the consultancy acknowledged some downside to its estimate for the overall grains production in the forecast of a 27.45 million-tonne corn harvest. Due to decreased corn growing margin in 2013, there was a "probability" that the consultancy would downgrade its forecast of 5.08 million hectares of corn sowings.


"Comparatively low market grain prices, and additional grain production costs for drying too-wet corn, slashed revenues of many farms," UkrAgroConsult said.


In some areas of the Black Sea, Agritel noted that there is not enough snow cover to protect crops from any sharp drop of temperatures. The consultancy added that 5-15 centimetres of snow covered winter crops in most regions, except the Steppe zone, during December 1-10, 2013. Such snow melted almost entirely by the end of December.


Weather service, MDA, reported that "snow cover remains limited across Belarus, western and southern Ukraine, and southern North Caucusus".


However, MDA added that a snow blanket should begin to rebuild there in the six-10-day period as cooler conditions return.