February 15, 2012


Ukraine loses three million hectares of 2012 winter crops



Ukrainian farmers are preparing to reseed up to three million hectares of winter crops lost to weather vagaries during sowing and wintering, Ukraine's Farm Ministry said Tuesday (Feb 14).


Earlier this year the ministry said the reseeded area could reach 2.5 million hectares.


The ministry said farms had sown 8.5 million hectares to winter crops and that a severe drought in July-November had prevented seeds in an area of 1.5 million hectares from sprouting.


The ministry gave no details on the area damaged by record frosts in January and February, while the state weather forecaster said last week the cold spell had killed most of the winter barley and winter rapeseed crops and seriously damaged wheat crops in Ukraine's eastern and southern regions.


Crops had been left without a significant snow layer to protect them against temperatures of about minus 25 Celsius (-13 Fahrenheit).


Several days of record low temperatures were enough to kill most crops, already hit by drought during sowing, Tetyana Adamenko, head of the agricultural department of Ukraine's meteorological service, told Reuters.


She said Ukraine might lose 40% of the sown area. She said the area sown for the 2012 winter grain harvest included 6.7 million hectares of winter wheat and 1.4 million hectares of winter barley.


Ukrainian traders said last week the government, worried about a possible fall in the 2012 wheat harvest, could limit exports of wheat in a bid to build up high grain stocks.


They said exports of wheat could be limited to 1.2 million tonnes in February-March.


Ukraine, which consumes 12 million tonnes of wheat per season, harvested 22.3 million tonnes of wheat in 2011 and has exported no more than three million tonnes of wheat so far this season.