Sunday, 19 May 2013

Ukraine and Russia crop and weather update

Reports of improved chances of rain in the FSU came true this week as light to moderate rain fell in parts of western Ukraine.

Eastern Ukraine and Russia remained dry with farmers in the regions telling me winter wheat is now in ear and starting to show visible signs of drought stress.

Substantial rains expected for Russia's southern district will help newly planted maize and sunflowers but will have a limited effect on these crops approaching the reproductive phase.

Talking of rape, it might just be me but all the stuff I have seen between Lviv in the west and Chernigov in the north looks a bit sickly.

Like that pale, runty kid who shuffled about at school perpetually sniffling and dribbling in to a snot rag.  It's all there just a bit weedy looking.

I'm putting it down to plants running out of steam in the longer than usual winter and it's taking longer than usual to bounce back.

The problem now is that the time left to bounce back is getting less with every day so the bounce will not be as high as we would have hoped.  I am anticipating a yield penalty.

Although corn and sunflower plantings have picked up the pace the Ministry of Agrarian Policy might be jumping the gun when they reported this week that 4.6min ha of maize (97% of the plan), 3.9min ha of sunflowers (99% of the plan) and 1.25min ha of soya (87%) had been planted.

Which for no reason at all reminds me of the story about the talented soviet aircraft designer Oleg Antanov who when looking to reduce weight on one of his aircraft designs decided not unreasonably to replace the four stroke back up generator with a lighter two stroke version.

When party officials got wind of this they told comrade Antanov that the step from four stroke to two stroke was too radical and revolutionary and insisted he used a three stroke engine instead!