November 17, 2011
Ukraine's grain harvest expected to reach 55 million tonnes
Serhiy Kvasha, the Agriculture Ministry markets department head, said on Wednesday (Nov 16) that Ukraine is expected to harvest about 55 million tonnes of grain this year, up from 39.2 million tonnes in 2010.
Previously, the government saw the harvest at 53-54 million tonnes. "The high harvest will be achieved thanks to corn," Kvasha said, adding that the former Soviet republic could harvest at least 20 million tonnes of corn, 22 million of wheat and about 10 million of barley this year.
According to the data, provided by the ministry, farms harvested 54 million tonnes of grain bunker weight from 96% of the planted area as of November 14.
Ukraine's Agriculture Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk later told reporters: "This year we will harvest 55 million tonnes of grain and this will be the highest harvest in Ukrainian history."
Kvasha said that Ukraine was likely to boost its grain harvest to about 80 million tonnes in 2015.
"This is a real figure. Our planting area is around 15 million hectares and an average yield of 5.2 tonnes per hectare gives us the crop of 80 million tonnes. Some our farms this year had more six tonne per hectare," he said.
Ukraine's grain yield averaged 3.65 tonnes per hectare as of November 14, 2011 and 2.84 tonnes a year earlier.
Analyst UkrAgroConsult said the official forecast was too high and the consultancy expected a rise in harvest to about 62 million tonnes by 2020.
"We could expect a jump in planting area in the next 10 years and it will cause an increase in harvests to about 62 million tonnes," said UkrAgroConsult director Serhiy Feofilov.
Ukraine plans to harvest 15.3 million hectares of grain crops this year.
Kvasha said a jump in the 2011 harvest to about 55 million tonnes would allow Ukraine to export 27 million tonnes of grain in the 2011/12 season but the lion's share of the volume was due to be shipped in January-June.
He said Ukraine was expected to export 10 million tonnes of grain between July and December this year, including two million tonnes in November.
The country has exported six million tonnes of grain since July 1, up from 5.2 million tonnes in the same period of 2010.
Kvasha said Ukraine had exported about two million tonnes of corn and two million of wheat so far this season.
The ministry has forecast that corn exports could reach 12 million tonnes in 2011/12 compared to five million in 2010/11.
Ukrainian agriculture officials have said the country's exports might be much higher but export restrictions in the first three months of the season cut the volume.
In October, the parliament cancelled export duties for wheat and corn but kept in place the levy on exports of barley.
Analysts have said the lifting of export duties will accelerate grain shipments from Ukraine but they say the increase would prove to be more telling in November.