Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Ukraine, Russia & other places mid-week review

Russia is to keep the ban on supply of food products imposed in August 2014 but as I anticipated will relax the list with some adjustments.

No radical changes are planned according Vice Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich yesterday.

But imagine for a minute if the reasons for the ban was removed then Russia would have no case in keeping them, then the WTO might step in.

Does this mean that Russia’s food production policy is now subject to decisions made in Washington and Brussels?

Russia spring grains plantings stand at 27.2mha or 88% of the plan which is down around 5% on last year.  Hidden in that figure is a drop of 1.7mha of spring wheat and barley.

Ukraine spring grains and pulses plantings stand at 6.7mha or 99% of the plan which is down around 10% on last year.

Kazakhstan spring plantings stand at 9.1mha or 62% of the plan, down a whopping 30% on last year and given the 100 odd day growing season that isn't going to improve now.

Tajikistan completed spring crops planting with 122kha which is up 15% on the plan which says so much for “the plan”, plus they planted an additional 189kha of industrial crops.

Ukraine’s agricultural input costs increased by 63% compared with last year.

Ukraine requires $2.7 billion to upgrade its grain handling and storage facilities according to Oleg Nivevsky, Agricultural Policy Advisor at the World Bank Group who went on to say the logistics costs in Ukraine are 40% of the export price compared with 10% in France and the US. 

I thought the US and EU directly and indirectly subsidised the cost of grain export, I wonder if they extend that courtesy to Ukraine?

The heatwave forecast for much of Russia came and went and probably did some yield damage along the way, high temperatures does odd things to plants particularly at sensitive ear development stages.

Cooler temperatures and rain over the weekend are holding off any problems for now although Moldova is reporting drought stress in developing spring crops.

Russia is resolutely sticking with a 100mmt harvest and possibly more, the feeling here on the ground is when harvest starts in the south next week yields will be above average and the Ministry, giddy with excitement will probably up that 100mmt only for yields to start dropping as harvest moves north.

Ukraine are all over the place with their harvest call estimates ranging from 55 to 62mmt with the last official ministry figure standing at a still optimistic 59mmt.

Quote of the week goes to Ukraine’s Minister of Agriculture when he referred to the ministry as a three headed dragon which needs its heads chopping off then not allowed to become an octopus or words to that effect.

Crop Tour II kicks off this weekend with a brief 2,000km tour around Russia then on to Ukraine, drop me a line if you would like to sign up and let’s face it we are the only ones supplying such a service so why wouldn't you?

I'm off to pack a bag.