Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Black Sea mid-week agri-news

Ukraine's new Minister of Agriculture is backing land reform which including selling leasing rights to encourage banks to lend against the asset; I’m not yet sure how this differs from current arrangements.

The USDA out the worst kept agricultural secret this week when they report that an estimated 80% of Ukraine soybeans and 10% of corn are grown illegally from genetically modified seed.  They don’t go on to expand how those US produced GM bean seeds managed to end up in Ukraine in the first place though.

Ukraine's Ministry of Agriculture report latest plantings as corn 4.3mha, 95% of forecast (4.1mha at the same period in 2015), sunflower 5.0mha, 95% of forecast (4.5mha in 2015) and soya 1.7mha, 84% (1.9mha in 2015).

Russian cereal plantings are ahead on last year but likely to slow with wet conditions over much of the region; spring sowing currently stand at ​​37.1mha, up 3.7mha on the same point last year.

Russia's Ministry of Agriculture report this week that grain exports stand at 31.8mmt from July 1, 2015 to May 18, 2016, up 12.8% compared with the same period last year.

Russia also reported that fertiliser purchased between January and May is up a substantial 17% on the corresponding period last year.

Russia’s weather and environment department, Roshydromet report the 2016 harvest will be comparable with five year average indices of between 102-105mmt.  They go on to say that precipitation has been sufficient in most regions but might be problem later in the season in Volga and central western Russia.

Although we reported this last week, commentators are starting to flag up how current weather (rain) has increased the risk lodging in winter grains in Ukraine and Russia.  Also worth mentioning that lodging causes humid conditions conducive to mycotoxin production.

Furthermore we have several independent contacts reporting delayed and missed fungicides leaving the window open to fungal diseases in particular fusarium with associated mycotoxin and if that wasn't enough the wet weather will have increased risk of grains sprouting in the ear.

Meanwhile France granted the Russian Agricultural Minister an entry visa even though he is on the EU banned list and he has now met with his French counterpart while at the same time the EU admit they have made limited progress in talks with Russia to restore the pork trade.

At this moment it certainly looks like France might break ranks to negotiate a better trading position for themselves with Russia.

And finally it was reported this week that UK rural broadband is ‘worse than ex-Soviet bloc’ which is not news to some of us is it Virgin Media?