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Ukraine: More plantings but smaller harvest expected

Ukraine's grain output will fall this year. Winterkill and reduced spending on sprays undo higher planting rates, UkrAgroConsult has said.

Growers will plant an extra 575,000 hectares of grain for this year's harvest, with corn, which is sown in spring, and winter barley and wheat proving particularly popular, the Kiev-based analysis group said.
 
However, output will fall by a little over 1 million tonnes to 43.4m tonnes, thanks in part to a 4.4% drop in yields stemming from "great problems" in farm financing.
 
According to UkrAgroConsult poor government support for grain production, a sharp drop in bank lending and high prices of inputs prevent many grain growers from application of fertilizers and pesticides. This will be visible in lower yields.
 
Winter damage
Production will also be damaged by lower rates of plantings making it through to harvesting, reflecting a jump to 400-450,000 hectares, from about 250,000 hectares last year, in the area of autumn-sown crops lost to cold weather damage.
 
Thanks largely to drought in the optimum September sowing window, when farms received 20-25% of average rainfall, the development of winter crops "lags two-three weeks" behind its usual pace.
 
Sunflowers grow
However, the greater rates of winterkill would foster a rise in Ukraine oilseed production, with many cereals fields afflicted resown with, in particular, sunflowers.
 
"Farmers persist in growing this crop on areas far exceeding the recommended size of 2.5m-3.0m hectares," the report said, forecasting sowings at 4.2m-4.4m hectares.
 
Soybean production, meanwhile, will hit a record 1.1m tonnes, thanks to extra plantings.
 
Rapeseed output will rise by 19.0% to 2.13m tonnes despite lower plantings, reflecting higher hopes for yield and expectations of lower crop losses.
 
Source: AgriMoney

Dick Ziggers

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