Friday, 20 July 2018

Russian wheat crop expected to drop 21 per cent


21 June, 2018

PARIS, June 21 (Reuters) - Wheat production in Russia is
expected to drop to 67.4 million tonnes this year, down 21.5
percent from a record 2017 crop, after adverse weather affected
both winter and spring wheat, French consultancy Agritel said on

Other forecasters have been scaling back their expectations
for the wheat harvest in Russia, the world's biggest exporter of
the cereal, due to weather concerns, contributing to a run-up in
international prices last month.

Agritel's estimate was below the 68.50 million tonnes
projected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a
world crop report on June 12, a projection that fuelled further
gains in wheat futures, before prices retreated in the past

Agritel's forecast, which followed a crop tour it conducted
in southern Russia last week, would nonetheless be 1.3 percent
above the average volume of the past five years, it said in a
Russian harvest outlook.

The consultancy's production outlook was based on an
estimated average yield of 2.61 tonnes per hectare (t/ha), down
from 3.10 t/ha last year, and an area of 25.83 million hectares.

For winter wheat, production was forecast to decline to 50
million tonnes, down about 19 percent from last year.

"The potential is estimated well below last year, mainly
because of the dryness during spring and hot temperatures from
the beginning of June in southwestern regions," Agritel said of
winter wheat.

For later-developing spring wheat, it projected production
would drop about 28 percent to 17.3 million tonnes, stressing
that planting delays had led it to estimate a decrease in the
crop area to 11.3 million hectares from 12.7 million last year.

Cold, wet conditions in more northerly regions have hampered
sowing and early growth of spring wheat, contributing to
downward revisions by some forecasters.

Agritel said it had provisionally applied a 10-year average
of 1.53 t/ha as the 2018 spring wheat yield, down from 1.89 t/ha
last year, but the outlook was subject to revision as crops
develop in the coming weeks.

Russia’s poor start to spring means farmers may struggle to collect a wheat crop that’s near to last year’s record.

Cold weather in central areas and the Volga valley delayed the resumption of winter wheat growth by about two to three weeks compared with last year, according to the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies, or IKAR. Lingering snow has also given farmers in the world’s top exporter less time to sow spring crops, potentially leading to smaller-than-expected plantings.

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