July 7, 2006


Russian grain exports plummet due to dry weather



Russian, one of the top five grain exporters of the world, expects grain exports to plunge this year as dry weather in the south lowered harvest expectations, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said Wednesday (Jul 5).


The country expects to export about 8 million tonnes of grain in the agricultural year beginning Jul 1, a 50-percent-drop compared with the more than 12 million tonnes exported last year, Gordeyev said at a news conference.


Drought in the Stavropol region, a major grain-growing area, is lowering harvest expectations. On top of that, heavy rainfall in Siberia is also expected to affect harvests as well, Gordeyev said.


Russia had a bumper harvest of 78 million tonnes last year.


This year's harvest has been revised to 70 million tonnes from 73 million tonnes earlier. However, better technology and organisation is improving the speed of harvest, Gordeyev said.


Dmitry Rylko, general director of the Institute of Agricultural Market Studies, said a lower forecast was expected as there were considerable winterkill.


However, both said the reduced harvest should not have any significant impact on supplies.

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