Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Dry weather in Ukraine and Russia puts pressure on grain output

The weather in Ukraine and Russia continues to make news as dry conditions delay germination of recently planted winter crops.

Ongoing drought conditions through central and eastern Ukraine and central Russia have put a dent in the aspirations of the 2016 grain and oilseed crop.

The 60-day precipitation ranged from less than 10% of normal in central Ukraine to 25% in other regions and there are reports of crops failing to germinate.

Farmers delayed drilling waiting until conditions improved, which they didn’t, or have decided to wait until the spring has meant that plantings in Ukraine are down 11% on last year and 5% in Russia.

Some of this shortfall will be made up in the spring but spring crops generally yield lower than autumn sown crops.

What has been planted is not in ideal condition either; nearly 40% of Ukraine's planted crop (already down 11% on last year) has not germinated and 20% of what has emerged is reported in poor condition.

One of my contacts in southern Ukraine told me last night they didn’t plant half of their winter cropping programme and what is up is at one leaf stage making it vulnerable to cold weather.

However contacts in other parts of Ukraine and Russia tell me conditions look much better with moist soil and warm weather contributing to rapid germination and good establishment.

Black Earth Farming in central Russia report their 38,000 hectares of winter crops to be "in excellent condition".

Clearly there is an issue in parts of Ukraine and Russia but as is often the case the picture is not necessarily as clear as is reported.

To try and bring some transparency I am planning a Crop Tour through Ukraine in the next few weeks.

As with previous tours I will travel through selected regions of Ukraine making rapid and detailed appraisals on the crop condition.

I will take photographs and video’s, tweet observations through a subscribers only account and produce a full report on completion.

If you think an unbiased, independent, boots on the ground appraisal is of interest to you and would like to support us in our work then drop me a line and I’ll sign you up and send you an invoice for £100.

Thanks for the ongoing support.

If there is time before the weather changes we will conduct a tour through selected regions of Russia, I will make a separate proposal in this case.