November 9, 2011


Ukraine to have record grain output despite drought



In spite of drought during the winter sowing, Ukraine is aiming to have a record grain production of 54 million tonnes in 2012 as compared to 52-53 million tonnes in 2011, according to Farm Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk on Tuesday (Nov 8).


"The government plans to increase agriculture output by 5.7% in 2012 and the grain harvest should raise to 54 million tonnes," the ministry quoted Prysyazhnyuk as saying.


"The area under winter crops is about 9.2 million hectares that is almost the same level as last year. We hope that next year's harvest will cover all our needs."


The previous record grain harvest of 53.3 million tonnes was set in 2008.


According to the latest data provided by the ministry, farms have sown 8.025 million hectares for winter grains as of November 7 against 8.045 million a year earlier.


The data shows that the area under winter wheat has totalled 6.48 million hectares this year compared to 6.56 million in 2010.


Prysyazhnyuk gave no details on winter crop conditions while his ministry said that crops had sprouted on the area of about five million hectares or 63% of the sown area.


The ministry also said 1.6 million hectares of already sprouted crops, or 32.2%, were in poor state, while the other 3.4 million were in good or satisfactory condition as of November 4.


About 39% of Ukrainian winter grain crops were in poor state as of October 27 and 29% as of October 24.


Tetyana Adamenko, the head of the agricultural department of Ukraine's meteorological centre, told Reuters this week that the country could lose up to 30% of its winter grains due to a severe drought, which has covered almost all Ukrainian regions and caused a critical delay in sowing.


UkrAgroConsult agriculture consultancy said in a statement that a total of 31% of Ukrainian winter grains were in poor state as of October 27,2011 against 12.6% at the same date in 2010.


The consultancy said 30.9% of Ukrainian winter wheat and 43.1% of winter barley were in poor condition. At the same date in 2010, only 12.1% of winter wheat and 18.1% of barley were under threat.


Winter wheat amounts more than 95% of Ukraine's total wheat harvest.


"With regard to the next year's crop, one can say with certainty already now that the total wheat output will be lower than this year," UkrAgroConsult said.


"Although planting can last up until November in the South, wheat planted acreage will most likely be smaller than last year."


The consultancy said that plants would enter winter dormancy in weaker condition than a year ago and they needed additional precipitation and warm weather in November to survive the winter.

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