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News 198 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Pessimistic Russian grain crop estimates overruled

Russia's grain crop has, by raw weight, crossed the 100m-tonne mark with some fields yet to be harvested, leaving its famously pessimistic farm ministry on course for another upgrade.

The harvest count has reached 101.4 million tonnes by bunker weight, the Agriculture Ministry said.
 
While this figure includes some waste, cleaning and drying should not reduce the crop far below 94m tonnes, above the ministry’s raised estimate of up to 93m tonnes, although in line with industry forecasts.
 
The farm ministry has gained a reputation for downbeat estimates, last year standing persistently by a forecast of 85m tonnes for a crop which ended up above 108m tonnes, clean weight.
 
Russia's crop enjoyed a third consecutive year of benign winter conditions and a record yields for Siberia's spring crop, which offset damage from dry weather in the Volga valley.
 
"Persistent drought destroyed a reported 3.2m hectares of grain area, but yields from the harvested area were remarkably high considering the drought," the US Department of Agriculture said this week, lifting its estimate for Russia's wheat crop by 2.0m tonnes to 59.5m tonnes.
 
However, the improvement spells difficulties for Europe's exporters, which face increasing competition from Russia and its fellow Black Sea grain states, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
 
"Russia has become the price leader in export markets, with abundant supplies of its low-priced bread wheat," the USDA said.
 
"Black Sea exporters are becoming increasingly more aggressive in the world market at the expense of the EU."
 
Source: Agrimoney.com

Dick Ziggers

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