Wednesday, 28 February 2018

This week's Black Sea agribusiness news in brief

Russia’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture spoke with representatives from Russia’s freight and rail transportation business this week and told them that this year’s grain exports would be over 45MMT.

He also said the strategy now is not to buy up and store, but to create conditions for the export of surplus, you have been warned.

He pointed out that domestic consumption, which stands at 72MMT, is increasing at about 1MMT per year, all the rest is export potential, but the number of grain-wagons is insufficient to ensure the uninterrupted transportation of grain by rail.

To support exports the Russian Ministry of Agriculture implemented financial support on grain rail transport and have currently agreed reduced tariffs on 756KMT of grain.

In the current Marketing Year, as of February 21, Russia had exported 33.5MMT of grain, up 40% on the same period last year (24.0MMT), including 26.2MMT of wheat (+ 41%).

Low temperatures continue to make the news across the Black Sea and Europe and will undoubtedly have an impact on yield prospects, the question is by how much?

I had a phone call earlier this week with George Auger, an UK independent agricultural advisor, who had just returned from southern Russia, he said in the Stavropol region it was noticeable how wheat looked thin, burnt and was suffering with the low temperatures and lack of snow although further north into Rostov things didn’t look too bad.

I also received updates from central Russia this week that showed wheat nicely tucked up under a recent blanket of snow, although we have some concerns that beneath the snow wheat is locked up in a layer of ice from the previous thaw.  While only 400km further south in Ukraine, there is no snow and wheat is fully exposed to the elements.

Clearly the impact of weather across the Black Sea region is variable and is continuing to develop but we will have a fuller picture once we complete or annual crop tour later in March.

Elsewhere, Russian farmers have purchased 7.5% more fertiliser January and February this year than the same period in 2017 and probably would have started applying it by now if weather conditions had improved.

Last week we reported Ukraine farmers had started applying fertiliser to overwintered crops, this week it's official with the Ministry of Agriculture reporting the first 592KHA of fertiliser had gone on in 16 regions of Ukraine.

Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture report January 2018 pig live weight production amounted to 308.4KMT, 12.6% more than a year earlier.

They also report January live weight production of poultry was 521KMT which is 8.9% more than in the previous year and the production of eggs was 3.1 billion, up 1.5% on last year.

On Monday China’s General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ) lifted a ban on wheat imports from six Russian regions which had been in force since 2016.

The ban was lifted for wheat supplies from Novosibirsk, Amur, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk and Altai regions of Russia.

EU announced a project to support cross-border cooperation between agricultural producers in Ukraine and Moldova to promote innovative farming methods and to improve quality of products.

I’m off to Moldova next week (no blog update), I’ll let you know about the quality of products and any innovative farming methods I see.