November 23, 2011
Black Sea wheat faces drought threat
Drought is again a possibility in Russia and Ukraine, according to Dr Art Douglas, professor emeritus of Creighton University's Atmospheric Science Department.
"Ukraine and Russia are very dry and when I showed the vegetation maps for that part of the world I pointed out that it was just as dry as it was last year, which was after another dry summer. Long range forecasts are indicating that we are going to keep a pretty dry northerly flow in that part of the world and so I would be really concerned about what their production is going to be like" said Douglas
Snow cover for the winter wheat could be an issue too.
"Well actually they have pretty good snow cover just to the northeast of the main grain area. So that is going to be the source region for the cold, but as you point out if they don't get any moisture and get snow on the ground locally, then you are going to have this cold air coming of the snow covered area of west-central Russia and getting then into the dry area. So there could be some winter kill too" he added.
The Black Sea region has become a major competitor in the world wheat market particularly for the US in the Middle-East. Severe drought in Russia and Ukraine in the 2010-2011 marketing year led to outright export bans or tariffs on exports, but a good crop in the region this year has those nation's exporting again.