Earlier this season Ukraine’s Ministry of Agriculture had forecast 7.4mha of winter wheat will be planted this fall but have since dropped their forecast to 6.2mha, which, coincidentally is exactly what has just been harvested.
As of Tuesday this week the official plantings for winter wheat and triticale stood at 5.359mha, about the same at the same point last year, so it’s conceivable that growers could finish above 6.2mha.
Except last year was dry and this year is wet; you can plant in the dry but it's awfully difficult to plant in the wet.
As we reported at the beginning of this week, Ukrainian farmers will have to get a move on to plant that final million hectares in the next ten days.
Planted hectares will rise further as reporting data filters through the system but wet, cooler conditions, restricted cash flow, general uncertainty and attractive spring planting options will do nothing to encourage farmers keep the planters in the field any longer than they have to.
The other consideration to take into account is what will the winter do for crop survival?
Last year Ukraine ended up harvesting 6.2mha but plantings had stood at 6.7mha.
Winter kill is usually around 5% which would mean a 6.2mha planted crop would turn into a 5.9mha harvest.
But winter kill can be 10% or higher so 6.2mha could end up as 5.6mha or even 5.3mha.
I will be taking a look at the condition of Ukraine (and Russian) wheat next week primarily to assess how well it might stand up to the fast approaching winter, check out previous posts below to find out how to follow and receive pictures, video and reports directly from Ukrainian (and Russian) fields.