July 6, 2012


Ukraine's 2012 grain harvest outlook down on smaller corn crop



Ukraine's 2012 grain harvest outlook has been slashed by the country's state weather forecasting to 42 million tonnes from a previous estimate of 44 million on Thursday (July 5) because of a smaller than expected corn crop.


Hot, dry weather in southern and eastern regions has reduced the corn yield, Tetyana Adamenko, head of the centre's agriculture department, told Reuters.


The weather centre expects the corn harvest to be between 20 million-21 million tonnes, against a previous outlook of 22 million tonnes, while the government has forecast a crop of at least 25 million tonnes this year.


"Plants have begun to die from the heat," Adamenko said. "At the present time, we can see a corn harvest of 20-21 million tonnes. The final forecast will be made on July 20," she said.


Adamenko said that rains in eastern and southern Ukraine this week had not changed the state of crops.


Farm minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk said this week that Ukraine, hit by poor weather during the sowing and wintering of major crops, expects to harvest between 20-21 million tonnes of early grains - mostly wheat and barley - in 2012, against 34 million tonnes in 2011.


Ukraine's government forecasts a harvest of 44 million to 47 million tonnes of grain this year, against a record 56.7 million tonnes in 2011. Weather forecasters expect the crop to be no more than 44 million tonnes.


A senior weather forecaster this week said that Ukraine could harvest 12-14 million tonnes of wheat and six million tonnes of barley this year. The wheat harvest totalled 22.3 million tonnes in 2011, while Barley output was nine million tonnes.


ProAgro, the agriculture consultancy, cut its grain crop forecast by 10% to 43.03 million tonnes because of hot weather. Its wheat harvest forecast was reduced to 12.7 million tonnes from 13.9 million, barley was cut from six million tonnes from 7.3 million tonnes and corn to 22.1 million tonnes from 23.6 million tonnes.


"Hot and dry weather is still a negative factor for corn crops in eastern and southern Ukraine," ProAgro said.


The farm minister revised downwards his forecast for July 2012-June 2013 exports to 22-23 million tonnes, against the previous outlook of 22-27 million tonnes because of a smaller than expected harvest.


In May, Prysyazhnyuk told Reuters that Ukraine could harvest up to 50 million tonnes of grain in 2012, but this week he cut the forecast to 47 million tonnes. He gave no details of the fresh forecast.


Analysts have said Ukraine is likely to harvest 45.5 million tonnes of grain this year, including 14.2 million tonnes of wheat, 7.3 million tonnes of barley and 21.3 million tonnes of corn.


They also said that a high level of ending stocks - about 10 million tonnes - would compensate for the decrease in the grain crop this year and could allow Ukraine to increase exports to 24 million tonnes in 2012-13, from 20.3 million tonnes the previous year.


UkrAgroConsult, another agriculture consultancy, has said that Ukraine could export 14 million tonnes of corn, seven million tonnes of wheat and 2.9 million tonnes of barley this season.

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