Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Ukraine's planting season gets underway

Earlier today Ukraine’s Ministry of Agriculture reported that spring planting is officially
underway with 1.7kha in Odessa and 900ha in Mykolaiv in the ground. 

They don't specify what crop but it’s likely spring wheat as spring barley is less frost tolerant and would be best planted later.

The local boys have instigated some recreational top dressing applying fertiliser to 1.6mha of winter grain crops (24% of forecast, 1.6mha in 2015) and 154kha of winter oilseed rape (26% of forecast, 223kha in 2015).

Recreational top dressing is when the workshop is tidied up, everything has been serviced, painted, cleaned, put away or fixed, the shooting season is over so lets go fert spreading, usually way too early.

Winter grain crops for 2016 harvest stand at 7.1mha planted (89% of 2015) including 6.0mha of wheat and 1.0mha barley.

However of that 7.1mha only 6.5mha (92%) has established with 4.3mha (67%) in good condition, 2.2mha (33%) poor and an additional 80kha dead.  Confused?

At the beginning of April last year the ministry put 88% of the crop in good condition while we scored 62% good.

It will be interesting to see how we compare this year, my concern is that even at 67% good they might be overestimating.

Before you say it I know last year was a record harvest but Ukraine gets high yields primarily because it rains at the right time; poor crops still yield in a good season.

But if it is a dry season those poor crops will yield significantly lower, so the proportion of poor crops is the important indicator here.

Only one way to find out, go and have a look for ourselves.