August 15, 2006


Russia's wheat output down 16.9 percent on-year



Russian farmers have harvested 14.2 million tonnes of wheat in bunker weight (before drying and cleaning) as of Aug 1, down 16.9 percent on the year, the Federal State Statistics Service said Monday (Aug 14), Prime-Tass news agency reported.


The decline is due to both rainy weather, which is slowing harvesting, and to lower yields.


The average wheat yield amounted to 3.16 tonnes a hectare as of Aug 1, compared with 3.31 tonnes/hectare at the same time a year earlier. The average yield for the whole of 2006 is expected to be considerably lower than this, as the harvesting campaign is now moving northwards to areas where yields are usually lower than in southern Russia.


The US Department of Agriculture projects Russia's wheat yields at 1.77 tonnes/hectare this year, down from 1.88 tonnes/hectare in 2005.


As of Aug 1, wheat accounted for 77.6 percent of the total grain production, which stood at 18.3 million tonnes, down 11.8 percent on the year.


Grain yields averaged 2.07 tonnes/hectare as of Aug 1, down from 2.93 tonnes/hectare as of Aug 1, 2005.


Russia's wheat output is expected to amount to about 42 million tonnes in clean weight this year, down from 47.7 million tonnes in 2005.


Russia's Agriculture Ministry's grain output forecast for 2006 remains unchanged at 70 million-73 million tonnes, down from 78 million tonnes last year.


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