Monday, 14 July 2014

Russian harvest underway

Well what a couple of weeks that was.

I travelled a total of 4,000km across central and southern Russia looking at farming and other points of interest.

I saw the largest irrigation project in Europe; seemingly fell off the map deep in the south where Buddhist Temples and prayer wheels appeared; called in at Stalingrad and the railway station where Tolstoy died; played guitar with a distant relative of Neil Young; saw massive land areas not being farmed; saw massive land areas being farmed and then last night the World Cup final.

I will write up some of the more interesting and academic points in due course but I think a quick precis of the current farming picture might be useful.

The Russian grain harvest is well underway in the hot, dry regions south of Rostov and has started to gain momentum in the more central regions.

Crops and yields are looking good, timely rain kept the plants green and growing for longer with decent grain fill likely to boost output.

Last reported average total grain yield was 3.63mt/ha, up on last years 3.09mt/ha (we should see more up to date figures released later today).

That included wheat at 3.78mt/ha (2013 3.22mt/ha); barley 3.70mt/ha (2013 3.35mt/ha) and oilseed rape at 1.70mt/ha (2013 1.72mt/ha).

The spring crops of corn, sunflower, soya and sugar beet etc have also benefited from the rain and are growing well under hot temperatures and blue skies although they are a long way from harvest yet.

We are also still a long way from completing the grain harvest but based on what I saw on the 2014 4kkm Russian Crop Tour it looks like it might be a good year for Russian farmers.