May 16, 2012
Adverse weather cuts Ukraine's wheat estimate
For 2012/13, the wheat yield of Ukraine is estimated at 13 million tonnes, 9.1 million tonnes, or 41%, lower from the previous year, the USDA stated.
The decrease is attributed chiefly to severe fall drought that hampered emergence and establishment of winter crops throughout Ukraine.
Localised frost further damaged the already weakened plants in parts of southern and eastern Ukraine. Harvested area is estimated at 5.3 million hectares against 6.7 million last year. An estimated 25% of the reported planted area was destroyed due to the combination of excessive fall dryness and frost damage.
Analysts from USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service conducted crop assessment travel throughout the main wheat production zone in mid- April. The team observed that crop conditions varied significantly from field to field, depending on the planting date, crop rotation, and technology.
Overall conditions, however, were not good. Satellite-derived vegetative indices from late April are consistent with the poor conditions observed by the team earlier in the month. Wheat yield is forecast at 2.45 tonnes per hectare, 26% below last year and 18% below the five-year average.
Early spring weather was favourable for the development of winter grains as they broke dormancy and resumed vegetative growth, but local specialists indicate that even with continued favourable weather the crops are unlikely to fully compensate for the remarkably poor fall conditions.