Thursday, 28 March 2013

Ukraine winter crops update

There has been a lot of snow over the last two weeks; two big snow storms hit the country stopping anything moving or much happening. 

It must have been big because even Kiev went in to lock down with reports of miles of abandoned lorries and cars blocking the streets.

One of my guys was unfortunate to be in that traffic and spent 14 hours trying to leave Kiev.  He said it was like a scene from a zombie movie with people wandering around randomly parked vehicles looking for help.

It might have been a lot of snow in a very short period of time but selling off all the snow ploughs and snow clearing equipment didn't help matters.

Our local administration demanded I gave him diesel to fuel a snow plough which turned out to be a converted tank as mysteriously his snow ploughs had all disappeared. Maybe under the snow.  

What's the impact on crops?  They should be OK but this winter is going on a long time and there is still a lot of snow sitting on top of the crops.

Official figures put 92% of winter crops in good to satisfactory condition.  All I see when I look is whitey white whiteness.

I'm sure the snow will eventually go, once it does I suspect we will see a higher than normal incidence of typhula in wheat and rape and oilseed crops that did not receive an autumn fungicide (pretty much everything) will see more plants die because of light leaf spot and phoma which will be incorrectly attributed to winter kill.

As snow melts it will make for very wet and cold soils, getting on with spring field work will be a challenge and spring plantings will be late.

All of this is compounded by the normal issues in Ukraine the main one being nitrogen fertiliser supply.  Delivery is being quoted around 60 days which puts it on farm end of May. 

Official figures suggest farms are in a good position with 40% of spring fertiliser paid for.  What they fail to mention is how much of that has been delivered?

One final thought, how does the guy who drives the snow plough get to work in the morning?