Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Latest USDA weather update for western FSU

Additional rainfall further eased dryness concerns in central growing areas and maintained favourable soil moisture in the south.

An early-week storm system and its attendant cold front produced moderate to heavy rain and wet snow (5-50 mm liquid equivalent) over most of the region’s major crop areas.

The moisture reduced lingering long-term precipitation deficits from northern Ukraine into west-central Russia, where a dry start to the spring coupled with autumn drought had depleted soil moisture and raised concerns over conditions for winter wheat.

In light of the recent wet weather in these locales, prospects for winter wheat, spring grains, and summer crops have improved considerably over the past several weeks.

In major winter wheat areas of southern Russia, 15 to 25 mm of rain (locally more) sustained favourable soil moisture as the crop approaches the heading stage of development.

However, cooler weather (2-5°C below normal) slowed crop growth rates, though night-time readings in the more advanced southern growing areas (-2 to 0°C) were above the threshold for freeze damage to wheat.

Despite being overall favourable for crop prospects, the wet conditions in Russia and Ukraine slowed corn and sunflower planting until the end of the period, when sunny skies allowed fieldwork to resume.

Latest USDA weather update for eastern FSU

Unsettled weather hampered early spring wheat planting but sustained abundant soil moisture for crop emergence.

With the region’s primary spring wheat areas of northern Kazakhstan and south-central Russia devoid of snow cover, producers will be able to commence spring wheat sowing once drier weather arrives.

However, widespread showers (5-25 mm) slowed early planting efforts, though drier conditions by week’s end likely enabled some fieldwork operations in the spring wheat belt.

Farther south, dry, hot conditions (30-36°C) in Uzbekistan and neighbouring environs accelerated cotton planting but increased stress on heading to flowering winter wheat.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Latest USDA weather update for eastern FSU

Snow was slow to melt in the north, while locally heavy rain maintained favourable soil moisture in the south.

A cold start to the month was followed by notably warmer weather by the end of March, though snow remained over northern Kazakhstan and neighbouring portions of Russia into early April.

Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal conditions (locally more than 200 percent of normal) in southern growing areas hampered cotton planting but maintained favourable prospects for reproductive to filling winter wheat, particularly in Uzbekistan.

Latest USDA weather update for western FSU

In March, mild, mostly dry weather eased winter crops out of dormancy in southern Russia and accelerated spring grain planting farther north.

Soil moisture remained limited for spring growth in the driest locales of central Russia, though showers returned to southern and western Russia by month’s end.

In contrast, abundant rain boosted soil moisture for dormant to vegetative winter grains and oilseeds in Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Ukraine Russia Crop Tour findings

At the end of March and beginning of April the Crop Tour team travelled 4,893km across Ukraine and Russia.

The aim was to objectively record the condition and yield potential of overwintered crops as spring growth recommenced.

The route took in the north, western and central regions of Ukraine and central, southern and western regions of western Russia.

We used a rapid crop appraisal technique to make over 500 crop assessments and carried out 60 detailed in field studies to measure key yield indicators. 

In addition the team took photographs and video which was made available during the tour and is now available on line. 

The team held discussions with farmers and industry personnel and collected anecdotal evidence on crop and soil conditions and counselled opinion on the financial and political situation relevant to agri-businesses in Ukraine and Russia.

The tour identified variations across Ukraine and Russia with some regions scoring below satisfactory because of thin crops with small plants and higher than average levels of cold damage.

Other regions visited were satisfactory in good condition and showed no problems post winter.

Wheat had reached early stem extension and farmers had started applying nitrogen fertiliser. 

Ukraine soils had been dry but late snows and rains had provided moisture for early season growth and no farmers expressed concern for soil moisture going in to April.

In Russia late snows and rain had improved soil moisture conditions in central regions but there were still concerns over dry soils further south.

Finance from banks had stopped, credit from suppliers was unavailable, they are requesting payment on delivery. 

Agri-businesses and farmers say they are trying to manage resources by replacing higher cost crops such as corn and soya with lower cost alternatives such as spring cereals, using cheaper domestic seeds and generic chemicals, reducing nitrogen fertiliser rates and dropping out base fertiliser altogether. 

The report and data are now available at £75/€100/$115, email me your preferred currency and I will send you a copy on receipt.

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Spring 2015 Ukraine Russia Crop Tour report is out.

Back in February I tentatively put out feelers to see if there was sufficient interest to warrant a ten day, four thousand kilometre tour around Ukraine and Russia to take in the post winter crop condition.

There was so we did.

In the end it took twelve days and we travelled five thousand kilometres.

We made over 500 separate rapid crop appraisals and 60 detailed in field studies, paid two bribes, lost one wheel, attended one international football friendly and visited one Buddhist temple.

We also raised over $932 for an orphanage in Volgograd thanks to the generous donations of my Twitter followers, thank you.

The report has been sent out to all subscribers (email me if you think I've missed you) and is now providing them with a unique, in depth and up to date view on crops in Ukraine and Russia.

I might be wrong but I'm not aware of anyone else who has seen as much crop as we have in the last two weeks or who has a better perspective on the state of Ukraine’s and Russia’s potential for this season.

What we did identify is some big differences in the crop condition between regions.

The report and the data (if you want to do some analysis yourself) are available to purchase at a reasonable £75/€100/$115.

If you would like a copy, email me your preferred currency and I’ll do the rest.