Favourable weather has put Ukraine on course for its biggest harvest since gaining independence 22 years ago. The country is raising its estimate for the corn crop to a record 21.2 mln tonnes
The growing season ahead of the 2013 harvest, started well allowing farmers to plant "most intended areas to winter grains within optimal time frames" - meaning that crops "entered the winter in largely good and satisfactory condition", the analysis of UkrAgroConsult group said.
Crops had been largely spared damage from a winter cold too, retaining "high productivity potential", claimed experts, rating 62.2% of winter grains as "good", in terms of condition, the best reading for late February since at least 2008. A year before, after a harsh winter, only 26.8% of winter crops were rated "good".
"Abundant precipitation" over the winter had also prepared the ground to support growth once crops emerge from dormancy, replenishing moisture levels - sapped by drought last year which sent wheat output tumbling by nearly 30% - back to long-term average levels.
Evidence even pointed to farmers being well prepared for further crop care too, acquiring nearly 300,000 tonnes of nitrogen fertilizers, 44% of the amount needed, a figure four points higher than a year ago.
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