March 14, 2012


Ukraine's Agriculture Ministry cuts 2012 wheat harvest outlook



After winter plantings suffered from drought and frost, Ukraine's Agriculture Ministry has cut its 2012 wheat harvest forecast to 14 million tonnes from 16 million tonnes, Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk said on Tuesday (Mar 13).


"We expect to reach a harvest of 14 million tonnes of wheat," Prysyazhnyuk said.


Ukraine, which consumes 12 million tonnes of wheat per season, harvested 22.3 million tonnes of the commodity in 2011.


Analysts forecast the wheat harvest at 13.8-14.3 million tonnes.


Farms sowed 6.7 million hectares for the 2012 winter wheat harvest but record drought in July-November and severe frosts in January-February damaged about a third of the crops.


Prysyazhnyuk said bad weather had affected most crops in Ukraine's eastern and southern regions.


He said about three million hectares of winter wheat, winter barley and winter rye could be reseeded this spring, mostly with corn, spring barley and oilseeds.


Ukraine traditionally starts spring grain sowing in late February but frosts across most of the country have delayed the sowing.


Prysyazhnyuk said farms were likely to start spring sowing in the second half of March. He also said a rapid onset of warm spring weather could ruin farmers' plans to sow significant areas for spring barley.


"If there is a quick warming we will be unable to sow the right acreage of spring barley," Prysyazhnyuk said.


He added that Ukraine was a leading exporter of barley and planned to export 4-6 million tonnes of the commodity per season. Prysyazhnyuk also said Ukraine would export about two million tonnes of grain per month for the remainder of the current marketing season, which ends in June.


He said the exports could total 20-21 million tonnes this season.