Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Russian harvest 31% up on last year

Russia reports the current harvest stands at 82mmt which is 31% more than the same point last year.

Much back slapping can be heard echoing out over the Russian steppe as all those involved congratulate themselves on such a fine achievement.

But before we crack open the shampanski it's worth taking a closer look at those headline figures.

Total crop harvested is way up on last year at 31% but yield per hectare is actually up only 8% (H16 3.0mt/ha, H15 2.8mt/ha).

The current harvest has combined 4.8mha more than at the same point last year (H16 27.1mha, H15 22.8mha).

So the current barn busting headline figure is because yield is up a bit on last year but combines have cut more hectares to date.

I know we shouldn't extrapolate as there is still a long way to the finish line but I'm going to anyway.

If today's yield per hectare was taken from last years hectares then the current combined collective harvest would be 8% up on last year.

Impressive but not as cool as 31%.

At this stage we are only really interested in how wheat is performing as the other crop harvest (corn, sunflower) are only just getting underway but the same scenario plays out.

The overall wheat crop is up 30% on last year driven by an 8% increase in yield (H16 3.4mt/ha, H15 3.2mt/ha) and an additional 2.8mha gathered.

Wheat yield is up but with crop still to be cut and conditions deteriorating I think we may well see that extra 8% drop before we are done.

We'll discuss wheat quality in another post.

Latest USDA weather update for western and eastern FSU

Western FSU
Early-week rainfall was followed by sunny skies, aiding fieldwork later in the period.

Widespread moderate to heavy showers and thunderstorms (10-110 mm) maintained adequate to abundant soil moisture for filling corn and sunflowers over key growing areas from north-central Ukraine into western and southern Russia.

Rain was lighter, however, in west-central Ukraine (4-15 mm), where short-term drought (25-60 percent of normal over the past 90 days) has lowered yield prospects for soybeans and corn in this part of the country.

Drier weather in Ukraine and Russia later in the period promoted summer crop maturation and harvesting.

Despite the overall favorable conditions for summer crops, spring wheat in the southern Volga District was subjected to excessive heat (38-41°C), which coupled with increasing short-term drought (25-50 percent of normal over the past 60 days) has reduced yield potential as the crop progressed through the filling stages of development.

Eastern FSU
Sunny, increasingly warm weather accelerated spring wheat (north) and cotton (south) toward maturity.

Following plentiful precipitation during the growing season over much of northern Kazakhstan and neighboring portions of central Russia, sunny skies and above-normal temperatures (3-7°C above normal) favored spring wheat maturation.

Despite the nearly-ideal conditions, western-most spring wheat areas (southwestern Urals District and southeastern Volga District) experienced heat (33-38°C) and intensifying short-term drought (25-60 percent of normal over the past 60 days), reducing the yield potential for filling spring wheat in these areas.

The negative impacts are most pronounced in the southeastern Volga District, where satellite-derived vegetation health imagery depicts fair to poor crop conditions.

Elsewhere in Russia and northern Kazakhstan, satellite imagery shows good to excellent conditions in the spring wheat belt as the crop progresses through the filling stages of development.

Farther south, seasonable heat (35- 39°C) and dryness in Uzbekistan accelerated cotton toward maturity, with the harvest typically beginning during the second half of September.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Ukraine harvest 35mmt of grains

Ukraine's Ministry of Agriculture report the harvest stands at 35mmt from 9.0mha with an average yield of 3.9mt/ha.

As of last Friday wheat harvest was 93% complete with 24.4mmt yielding a respectful 4.2mt/ha (62bu/ac), up on last years 3.8mt/ha crop (56bu/ac).

Barley harvest is 96% finished with 9.3mmt yielding 3.4mt/ha (63bu/ac), also up on last years 3.0mt ha crop (55bu/ac).

In other news Ukraine's buckwheat harvest is expected to reach 174kmt, up 36% on last year with the extra supply anticipated to reduce the cost of the national staple.

Buckwheat is considered such a important crop that the Ministry of Agriculture jointly with the Anti-monopoly Committee consider it appropriate to track the entire supply chain from farm to retailers shelves.

Russian Ministry of Agriculture forecast 110mmt grain harvest

Russia's Ministry of Agriculture report the current total harvest at 62.5mmt, up around 30% on the same point as last year.

They go on to forecast a final harvest somewhere between 106 to 110mmt which could beat the previous record crop of 108mmt set in 2008.

Regional output figures are broadly similar to last year, give or take, with the Southern and North Caucus Districts producing an extra 3.5mmt or 11% increase and the Central District posting a 3.1mmt or -23% decrease.

The real eye opening figure is the Volga District reporting 7.8mmt extra grain on the same point last year which represents 123% increase.

I need to better understand what's going on so I will be taking a run through the Volga region shortly to have a look and see how it compares with the data we collected last year.

Wheat harvest is currently running at 45.7mmt with an average yield of 3.9mt/ha (58bu/ac), significantly up on the same point last year when the Russians had harvested 38mmt at 3.4mt/ha (50bu/ac).

Barley harvest stands at 9.2mmt (7.1mmt in 2015) with an average yield of 3.0mt/ha (56bu/ac) which is also up on last years 2.6mt/ha crop (48bu/ac).

With intermittent rains forecast for Central and Northern regions through the rest of this week and into next means we may see a slowing down of harvest activity by the next Ministry report.

Latest USDA weather update for western and eastern FSU

Western FSU
Scattered showers and thundershowers (10-30 mm, locally more) spread across Belarus and western Russia, maintaining adequate to abundant moisture supplies for corn, soybeans, and sunflowers.

The showers were generally passing in nature, allowing winter wheat harvesting to progress during drier periods.

Elsewhere in the region, showers and thundershowers (10-30 mm, locally more) overspread Ukraine as well.

The rain was welcome in west-central sections of the country, providing a needed boost in soil moisture for corn and soybeans in the wake of recent short-term dryness.

After a generally seasonable start, temperatures in Belarus, Ukraine, and western Russia slowly crept up during the week.

Temperatures averaged 3 to 5°C above normal for the week, with maximum temperatures often exceeding 35°C in southeastern Ukraine and the Southern District in Russia during the latter half.

Summer crops are generally in the late reproductive to filling stages of development.

As a result, the heat likely increased stress on summer crops, however, large reductions in yield potential are unlikely because crops are beyond the most critical stages of development.

Eastern FSU
Widely scattered showers in northern Kazakhstan and central Russia continued to favour late reproductive to filling spring wheat.

Rainfall amounts were highly variable, with some locations receiving nearly 25 mm of rain and many locations tallying no rainfall.

Despite this variability, soil moisture was adequate to abundant throughout the region and crop prospects remained good to excellent.

Temperatures averaged up to 2°C above normal in western spring wheat producing areas (i.e., Urals District of Russia) and up to 2°C below normal in southern and eastern producing areas (i.e., northern Kazakhstan, Siberia District in Russia).

Farther south, seasonably hot, mostly dry weather favored open-boll cotton in Uzbekistan.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Latest USDA weather update for western and eastern FSU

Western FSU
Drier, somewhat cooler conditions followed early-week showers, maintaining mostly favorable prospects for summer crops.

A cold front triggered widespread showers and thunderstorms (10-70 mm, locally more) early in the period across Russia and Belarus, sustaining adequate to abundant moisture supplies for reproductive summer crops.

The front also brought an end to the short-lived but intense mid-July heat wave, with daytime highs slipping below 35°C until week’s end.

Consequently, corn and sunflowers progressed through reproduction with little - if any - additional heat stress, though some yield losses from the recent hot spell are likely in southern Russia.

Corn in Russia’s Southern District was subjected to as many as 6 days of high heat (35-41°C) in mid- to late-July as the crop progressed through the tassel and silk stages of development.

Meanwhile, the sunny, warm weather later in the week favored winter wheat harvesting and enabled field preparations in advance of winter wheat planting, which typically occurs in late August and September.

Despite a favorably wet summer to date, localized short-term dryness has developed in west-central Ukraine; over the past 30 days, this region has reported less than 50 percent of normal rainfall, reducing moisture supplies for reproductive corn and soybeans.

Eastern FSU
Widespread rain and near- to below-normal temperatures maintained favorable prospects for spring wheat, while increasing heat accelerated cotton into the open-boll stage of development in the south.

Another round of showers and thunderstorms (10-50 mm, locally more) over northern Kazakhstan and adjacent portions of central Russia maintained good to excellent yield prospects for flowering to filling spring wheat.

Furthermore, heat has not been an issue due to the cloudy, rainy weather, with temperatures averaging up to 2°C below normal for the week.

However, drier weather will be needed soon to maintain the current favorable crop projections.

Farther south, increasing heat (daytime highs 38-42°C) in Uzbekistan accelerated cotton into the open-boll stage of development, likely putting much of the crop past the point of significant yield impacts from this week’s above-normal temperatures (1-2°C above normal).