June 20, 2012


Russia's 2012-13 grain, wheat harvest forecasts down



Due to falling yields, Russia's 2012-13 grain harvest forecast has been lowered by grain analyst by 4.5% as well as wheat harvest forecast by 5.7% from previous estimates and said the outlook could be reduced further.


SovEcon Chief Executive Andrei Sizov Sr. forecast Russia's 2012-13 grain harvest at 85 million tonnes, down from 94 million tonnes in 2011-12.


His outlook for the wheat crop was 50 million tonnes, down from 56 million in 2011-12, Sizov told Reuters on Tuesday (June 19).


About a month ago he had expected the 2012-13 grain crop to come in at 89 million tonnes and the wheat crop at 53 million tonnes.


Since then, data suggesting falling yields caused by winterkill and a spring drought have prompted him to decrease his forecast, with the potential for further cuts.


Farmers in Russia's southern breadbasket region of Krasnodar face a decline in wheat yields after nine months of inclement weather, which will make it difficult for Russia to match last year's record exports.


Rain fell this weekend in parts of key southern agricultural regions of Russia, and more rainfall is expected in the coming days after a dry spell in some regions, the Federal Hydrometeorological Centre said on its website in a weather forecast for June 19-21.


An Agriculture Ministry official said in June that concerns about damage from the drought had eased and retained the ministry's forecast for a grain harvest of 94 million tonnes in the new season, flat on-year.


"We will change our forecast. Our current estimate is the upper limit of a range, with the lower limit yet to be calculated," Sizov said.


He expected the wheat harvest to fall in several of Russia's key southern growing regions including Krasnodar, Rostov and Stavropol.


Krasnodar may see a fall in its 2012-13 grain crop by 25%, while its wheat crop could fall by more than 40% as drought reduces yields, regional governor Alexander Tkachev said on his government's website.


"There is a forecast that we will lose a quarter of the crop and the main shortage is expected to be of wheat," Tkachev said. The harvest is beginning in his region.


Grain yields in the region could fall to four tonnes per hectare from last year's 5.5 tonnes, which means the wheat harvest in the region is likely to fall to four million tonnes from last year's seven million, he said.


He added the harvest of winter barley could fall by 0.5 million tonnes due to winterkill and that the region's 2012-13 grain crop was likely to drop to 8-8.5 million tonnes from 10-11 million the previous season.

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