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Russia’s grain regions at high risk of wildfires

Dry and hot weather will persist in Russia's key agricultural regions and according to forecasts wildfires are expected in the coming days.

The forecast threatens the country's optimistic views on prospects for the grain crop. In 2010 wildfires resulted in Russia losing about a third of its feed crop harvest.

Russia, the world's third largest wheat exporter, needs a good harvest this year after it lost a quarter of last year's grain crop due to drought during the second half of May and early June. The Federal Hydrometeorological Centre said that in the Southern Federal District the possibility of wildfires is very high, while the Central and Volga Districts would face abnormally high temperatures in the coming days.

The Southern Federal District is the country's main wheat exporting region which accounted for 40% of Russia's wheat crop last year. A lack of rain until May 21 will cut yields of Russia's spring grains, while a longer period of dry weather will cut yields of winter grains, analysts said previously.

Winter grains are doing well so far in the Krasnodar region, also known as Kuban, which completed the spring grain sowing campaign on Thursday, the Agriculture Ministry said. The region plans to start the harvesting campaign on June 15-20. During the current spring grain sowing campaign Russia plans to sow 30.3 million hectares, of which 47% or 14.3 million hectares have already been completed as of May 15, data from the ministry showed.

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