August 19, 2004



Russia's Grain Harvest To Aug 16 Up 92% On Year 


Russia harvested 40.9 million metric tons of grain to August 16, or 92% more than at the same time last year, the news agency Prime-Tass reported Wednesday, citing the Agriculture Ministry.


Grain had been taken from 15.7 million hectares, or 36% of the total planted area, compared with 9.9 million hectares a year ago.


The average yield has so far amounted to 2.59 tons per hectare, compared with 2.13 tons per hectare a year ago. Wheat accounted for 23.8 million tons, compared with 11.1 million tons a year before.


Farmers in the southern federal district have harvested grain from 82% of the planted area, taking over 24.6 million tons. Grain has been taken from 42% of the area in the central federal district and from 32% of the area in the Ural federal region. Harvesting has also started in Siberia.


Yields are up this year due to more favourable weather than last year.


But wheat quality is inferior to that a year before. The State Bread Inspectorate found that the share of superior milling wheat (3rd class) amounted to 23% as of Aug. 12, down from 40% a year ago. The share of all milling varieties stands at 67%, down from 74% a year before. This is one of the lowest levels for the last few years.


But the wheat quality might improve as the harvesting is moving to Siberia, where the quality is usually high.


The government expects Russian grain output at 73-76 million tons this year, up from 67.2 million tons last year. Wheat output is expected at around 42.5 million tons, up from 34.1 million tons last year.

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