July 8, 2010


Russia grain harvests show increase, but heat may hit crops


Russia has started its harvest ahead of schedule, but the crop is expected to fall as a heat wave has damaged crops in some key regions, according to the Agriculture Ministry.


Farmers have harvested 5.4 million tonnes of grain by bunker weight so far this year, one million tonnes more than a year ago, a ministry statement said.


Bunker weight is normally 7-8% higher than the clean weight obtained after grain is cleaned and dried, but the difference may be lower in hot and dry years. Grains have been harvested from 1.6 million hectares, 300,000 hectares more than a year ago. Average yields were 3.42 tonnes of grain per hectare, close to 3.43 tonnes per hectare at the same date last year.


The bulk of the harvested grain came from regions largely unaffected by the unusually high temperatures. The ministry expects the total grain crop to fall to 85 million tonnes from 97 million tonnes last year as the state of emergency has been declared in 14 Russian regions due to drought.


The ministry did not provide data on actual losses.


The ministry has said that in spite of the lower crop forecast, Russia will still have an exportable surplus of around 20 million tonnes of grain as the country had big cereal stocks after two bumper crops.

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