Ukraine begins winter crop harvests ahead of schedule
Initial harvests of winter barley and wheat have already begun across Ukraine - nearly 2 weeks ahead of the usual schedule, encouraged by recent hot and dry weather.
In Ukraine, barley production is forecast to remain similar to last year --around seven million tonnes, according to Ukraine's Agriculture Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk. The US Department of Agriculture has the same expectations for barley production in the country.
Experts predict Ukraine’s total wheat production will be 19.5 million tonnes. Tetiana Adamenko, head of the agrometeorological department at the Ukrainian Weather Centre, estimates wheat production to be 20 million tonnes. Ukraine's wheat production in 2012 dropped to 15.8 million tonnes.
Winter cereal acreage in the country has faced significant competition from surging corn and soybean acres.
A drop is forecast for Ukrainian barley exports of 200,000 tonnes from 2012, to 2 million tonnes. Wheat exports are predicted to increase by 1 million tonnes from 2012 levels reaching a 5 year high of 8 million tonnes.
Although volume is anticipated to increase, quality will return to more normal lower levels. Last year's drought boosted protein content and grade in wheat, increasing the proportion of milling wheat. Feed wheat is anticipated to increase by about 50%, Adamenko said.
Price indexes across the former Soviet republics dropped in response to the harvest forecast. The value for feed-quality winter cereals will be further impacted by the potential for record corn output from the region.
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