Friday, 31 August 2012

Cool weather helped Ukraine corn pollination

The cool spell during pollination helped ensure a full seed set as seen in this picture taken today of a fairly typical example in western Ukraine.

Regular rain events have helped grain fill and I think we might be looking at some fairly hefty crops come harvest.

However my sources are telling me a different picture is emerging in eastern Ukraine with farmers starting to harvest corn crops at very, very low yields.

While it's always difficult to get reliable data on how much crop is grown what is true is the eastern regions account for 30 to 40% of the arable growing area.

So while we might see bumper crops in the west this will probably be offset by low yields in the east.

Monday, 27 August 2012

How time flies!

A combination of harvest, children and unscheduled hospital visits and before you know it mid-May turns in to late August and you haven't posted a blog in all that time!

Tempus fugit indeed!  So what's new?

Oilseed rape harvest is well and truly over with official yield figures coming in at 2.2mt/ha and a local spot price of 4,400uah/mt (543usd/mt) giving the crop the makings of a profitable enterprise.  At those parameters and assuming variable costs of 4,410uah/ha (544usd/ha) the gross margin is 5,270uah/ha (650usd/ha) which according to John Nix is about average.  Not bad for a crop that many had written off as lost during the cold winter.

Winter wheat harvest is all but over with current official estimates down on last year at 2.9mt/ha; most of that yield hit occurred in the dry autumn.  Current local spot is 1,700uah/mt (210usd/mt) with variable costs around 1,900uah/ha (234usd/ha) giving a gross margin of 3030uah/ha (374usd/ha) which is well below the low end of Professor Nix.  However keep in mind that wheat in Ukraine is the poor relation crop compared to rape, corn, sunflowers and soya and fixed costs, particularly rent are much lower.

Weather conditions have been very kind to the remaining crops in the ground; corn, sunflower and soya, with coolish temperatures and a little rain to help them along.

The much anticipated football tournament came to Ukraine and went by without any significant problems, I even managed to catch a couple of games; at one point I found myself sat slap bang in the middle of the German supporters during the Germany Portugal match.  How I cheered when Germany scored, das war gut ja!

The summer got hotter, then cooled, warmed up a bit and is now cool again. 

Weather patterns have by and large been very good this season unless you're in the east where for the third year running they have been complaining of drought and high temperatures.  Can you see a pattern?

The clock has gone full circle and new crop rape is going back in to the ground as I write, mainly in to warm moist seedbeds which is very different from this time last year. Bodes well for wheat plantings due to start in about three weeks.

There you have it, four months in Ukraine in a nutshell.