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Ukraine wheat harvest forecast to recover in 2013

Ukraine's wheat harvest is likely to recover this year to 19 million tonnes after dropping by a third in 2012 due to drought, according to Agriculture Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk, in a recent press-conference.

Prysyazhnyuk told reporters that farms had sown 6.7 million hectares of winter wheat for the 2013 harvest and that about 92% of sprouted crops were in good or satisfactory condition.

"The current situation with winter grains is better than last year and there are no grounds for concern." Prysyazhnyuk said, "As of today, we forecast a harvest of 19 million tonnes," compared to 15.5 million in 2012. Analysts provided higher estimates, which make the ministry's forecast look pessimistic. UkrAgroConsult consultancy said it expected the 2013 wheat harvest to rise by more than 40% to 21 million tonnes due to favourable weather during autumn sowing and winter.

"Last year's autumn agro-meteorological conditions were favourable in most regions for tillage, planting, emergence, initial growth and development of winter grains," it said in a report. The consultancy also said the overall grain crop could reach 51.85 million tonnes versus 41.97 million in 2012. The volume could include 20.0 million tonnes of maize and 8.0 million tonnes of barley. Ukraine harvested 18.8 million tonnes of maize and 6.34 million tonnes of barley in 2012. "In 2013, more attention will be paid to spring planting of corn. Being one of the most productive crops, it will be planted on an area close to last year's," the consultancy said.

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