October 2, 2009

Ukraine grain exports may be restricted on short supply

Ukraine's 2009-10 grain exports may reach as high as 20 million tonnes, but export restrictions will be considered if next year's harvest is poor, according to a senior agriculture ministry official.


The ministry had forecast exports of 18 million tonnes, lower than last year's record 25.3 million tonnes.


Grains are already being exported at a rapid pace and sales are higher than in the same period of 2008, said the official.


But the grain crops are forecasted at about 45 million tonnes with a domestic consumption of about 26 million, meaning Ukraine may face a grain deficit if such high exports occur without sufficient grain stocks during a poor harvesting year.


The winter crops have some problem as there is limited water content in the soil across nearly all regions, said the official. Analysts also said dry weather could affect production.


Winter crops have been planted on 3.5 million hectares, of which are mainly dry soil due to a lack of soil moisture, according to UkrAgroConsult.


The consultancy said farms should sow winter crops by the first days of October, the optimal conditions allowing for good harvests.


The severe lack of soil moisture in September may make farmers sow the winter crop until October 10-15. Due to a dry autumn, there are increasingly more conditions for a possible loss of part of the weak winter crops, UkrAgroConsult said.