Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Next few days critical for Ukraine and Russian wheat

Temperatures have started dropping in Ukraine and Russia, from unseasonably mild -5 oC down to -17oC in eastern Ukraine last night with forecasts over the next few days suggesting it might go as low as -20oC.

There is very little snow about over much of the region, see picture of Central Russia earlier this week, leaving crops exposed to damage from a drop in temperatures.

There is not much snow forecast until early next week when it is being described as light to moderate.

The key issues now will be how rapidly and how low will temperatures drop, and when and how much snow will fall?

If temperatures drop steadily and snow falls then it’s unlikely to be an issue but if the temperatures drop rapidly before decent levels of snow falls then we could be seeing elevated levels of winter kill.

It’s difficult to quantify the degree of risk or expected levels of winter kill but it will likely be higher in parts of Ukraine where proportionally more crop is in a backward and underdeveloped state and less tolerant to colder weather.

The relatively milder weather and rain that fell across much of Russia last month has allowed crops there to catch up and as such they are in a better condition to withstand the cold but not entirely risk free.

The next ten days in Ukraine and Russia are likely to be critical to winter crop survival.