Crop Explorer - Commodity Intelligence Reports - Russian Federation

Apr 11 2023 | Russia Wheat: Record MY 2022/23 Harvest
USDA’s estimate of Russia wheat production for MY 2022/23 is a record 92.0 million metric tons (mmt), up 22 percent from last year and 18 percent above the 5-year average. The estimate includes 68.0 mmt of winter wheat and 24.0 mmt of spring wheat. Total wheat yield is estimated at a record 3.17 tons per hectare (t/ha), up 17 percent from last year and 12 percent above the 5-year average. Total harvested area is estimated at 29.0 million hectares (mha), up 5 percent from last year.

Jan 18 2022 | Russia’s 2021 Ice Crusting Event Caused Production Drop for Winter Wheat
Russia experienced an infrequent event known as “ice crusting” during February and March of 2021. Ice crusting occurs by the thawing and refreezing of water in the snowpack or in the top layer of the soil. This type of melting and refreezing usually occurs when the temperature fluctuates between below- and above-freezing temperatures over a relatively short period of time. Ice crusting, if present for a few weeks, can smother the crop and cause large levels of loss. Ice crusting caused high levels of winterkill for Russian wheat in market year (MY) 2021/22, in addition to normal winterkill.

Jan 22 2021 | Russia: Seasonal Summary for the 2020/21 Season
Russia finished harvesting the final crops for the market year (MY) 2020/21 season in early December. Overall, Russia had an above-average season, with several crops hitting record or near-record production. This was due, in part, to favorable weather and growing conditions throughout both the Central and Volga Districts, which boosted yields for both winter and spring crops in those areas. The introduction of improved seed varieties throughout Russia helped to boost yields further.

May 12 2020 | Russia Early Season Expectations for Winter and Spring Crops
Overall, Russia’s winter and spring crops are expected to be above average for the MY 2020/21 season. This report will discuss planting progress and early season conditions for wheat (both winter and spring), barley, corn, sunflowerseed, and other minor crops.

Mar 8 2019 | Russia 2019/20 Winter Grains: Highest Planted Area in 9 Years
Planting of winter grains occurs from August until December and this year’s planting outpaced the usual sowing rate (See Figure 1). Winter crops will emerge from dormancy in the spring and will be harvested in July through August. Winter wheat accounts for about 85 percent of the total winter grains crop in Russia and the remainder is divided between barley, rye and triticale. Winter wheat is mainly grown in European Russia, scattered between the Southern (43 percent of production), Central (27 percent), North Caucasus (18 percent), and Volga (12 percent) districts (See Figure 2).

Feb 28 2018 | Russia 2018/19 Winter Grain: Planted Area and Early-Season Conditions
Russia’s winter grains are planted from August through November and remain dormant during the winter. Vegetative growth resumes in March and harvest occurs from July through August. According to data from the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, the area planted to 2018/19 winter grains totaled 16.68 million hectares compared to 16.94 million for 2017/18 (see Figure 1). The major winter grains include wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. Although total winter-grain area in Russia is down 1.5 percent from last year, area is up 0.18 mha (3.2 percent) in the high-yielding Southern District, where winter-wheat yield averages 3.52 tons per hectare. Meanwhile, area is down 0.27 mha (5.9 percent) in the Volga District, where average winter-wheat yield is only 2.05 t/ha. Winter-grain area is down 1.7 percent in the Central District and essentially unchanged in the North Caucasus District.

Aug 22 2017 | Russia Wheat: Evidence Points toward another Record Harvest
The combination of a bumper winter wheat harvest and high potential yields in the spring wheat zone will likely drive Russia’s 2017/18 harvest to a new record. USDA estimates output at 77.5 million metric tons, surpassing last year’s record by 5.0 million. Wheat yield is estimated to break last year’s record as well, by 8 percent. Total wheat yield is estimated at 2.89 tons per hectare.

Jul 14 2016 | Russia: Grain and Oilseeds
USDA estimates total Russia wheat production for 2016/17 at a record 65.0 million metric tons (mmt), up 4.0 mmt from last year and surpassing the previous record of 63.8 mmt for 2008/09. Yield is estimated at 2.50 metric tons per hectare (t/ha), matching the 2014/15 record and 12 percent above the 5-year average. Conditions for winter wheat in the Central, Southern, North Caucasus, and Volga Districts of Russia have been excellent throughout the growing season, and early-season conditions for spring wheat in the Siberian, Ural, and Volga Districts have been favorable as well. USDA production estimates for Russia do not include estimated output of roughly 0.9 mmt from Crimea.

Jan 27 2016 | Russia: Sown Area for 2016/17 Winter Grains Falls Short of Ministry Forecast
Dry weather in western Russia contributed to a 5-percent drop in the area sown to 2016/17 winter grains. The dryness curtailed planting and hampered crop establishment in some areas and conditions were generally worse than normal as the winter crops entered dormancy. The impact of the dryness on crop emergence and establishment will not be fully determined until vegetative growth resumes in the spring.

Aug 17 2015 | Russia 2015/16 Wheat: Second Consecutive Bumper Crop
USDA estimates Russia wheat production for 2015/16 at 60.0 million metric tons, surpassing last year's crop by 0.9 million tons. Harvest reports from the Ministry of Agriculture cite record or near-record yield in the Southern and North Caucasus Districts, and near-average yield in the Central District despite severe fall drought and remarkably poor establishment conditions for the region's winter wheat. Current prospects are favorable for spring wheat in the Siberian, Volga, and Ural Districts

Feb 18 2015 | Russia: Unfavorable Establishment Conditions for 2015/16 Winter Grains
The sown area for 2015/16 Russia winter grains surpassed last year’s level by 13 percent, but persistently dry weather in major growing regions hampered crop emergence and establishment. The Ministry of Agriculture reported fall-planted area at 16.4 million hectares (not including Crimea), against 14.7 million last year and 15.8 million for 2013/14. Most of the year-to-year increase occurred in the Central District, where persistent rain curtailed the fall sowing campaign for 2014/15 winter crops. Sown area increased by 6 percent in the Southern District (Russia’s top winter-wheat region) and by 5 percent in the Volga District, and remained stable in the North Caucasus District. The sowing campaign benefited from generally dry weather which facilitated rapid planting but the dryness persisted after planting was finished, resulting in the poor establishment conditions.

Feb 28 2014 | Russia: Favorable Conditions for 2014/15 Winter Crops
Conditions for Russia’s 2014/15 winter grains are generally favorable, although a lack of protective snow cover and a likely reduction in cold-hardiness for crops in southern Russia could increase their vulnerability to frost damage in the event of a sudden drop in temperatures. Planted area is down about 7 percent from last year.

Nov 20 2013 | Russia: Sown Winter Grain Area for 2014/15 Down 8 Percent
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, the planted area of 2014/15 winter grains is lower than last year’s level in every major production district. Sown area was reported at 14.4 million hectares as of November 14, 2013, down 1.4 million from the same date last year and 2.0 million below the Ministry’s August forecast. Planting typically is essentially complete by mid-November. The year-to-year drop in sown area is attributed chiefly to untimely wet weather which impeded field work in the Central District and the lower Volga Valley. Wheat is Russia’s main winter grain, comprising about 80 to 85 percent of Russia’s total winter-grain area. Winter wheat is grown throughout European Russia. Rye accounts for 11 to 16 percent of the area and is grown in the more northern territories due to its ability to withstand cold weather. Barley occupies 2 to 4 percent of the country’s winter-grain area. It is the least cold-tolerant of the winter grains and is grown only in southern Russia. Less than 2 percent of the winter-grain area is sown to triticale. Triticale is grown in the Central and Volga Districts. Russia’s winter-grain sowing campaign begins in mid-August in the Volga Valley and advances southward. Planting concludes in the North Caucasus District in early November. This season, sowing began on time in the Volga District and proceeded at a rapid pace until early September, when persistent wet weather brought field work to an early end. Final sown area was reported by the Ministry of Agriculture at 4.14 million hectares, 0.24 million lower than last year and nearly 0.6 million short of the August forecast. In the Central District, wet conditions prevailed throughout September, the region’s typical planting window, and final sown area was slightly below 3.0 million hectares – nearly 20 percent below last year and 25 percent below the Ministry forecast. Planted area dropped in the Southern District as well, but planting difficulties were limited to Volgograd, which borders Volga District. Farther south, in the remainder of the Southern District and in the North Caucasus District, most of the winter grains were planted from late September through early November under favorable conditions. Surface-moisture conditions, as indicated by microwave satellite imagery, were generally favorable for Russia’s winter crops throughout emergence and establishment in the Central and Volga Districts. Winter grains in these districts typically enter dormancy in late October or early November, but temperatures in most of the main winter-grain region (including Voronezh in the Central District, Saratov in the Volga District, and Krasnodar in the Southern District) have generally been above normal and crops are still in the tillering stage. Early-November surface moisture in the southern half of the Southern District and in the North Caucasus District were below normal, similar to last year, but moisture demands for developing winter grains are low and crops face no current threats. Assuming that 2014/15 winter-grain planting is complete, the reported sown area of 14.4 million hectares would be the lowest since 2007/08 (i.e., the crop planted in the autumn of 2006). In a typical season, 5 to 10 percent of Russia’s fall-sown winter grains are destroyed due to fall drought, winter frost, or other weather-related factors. Total winter losses are calculated in the late spring after vegetative growth resumes, and the surviving area (officially labeled as “final sown area”) is reported by Rosstat in early summer. The USDA will release its initial 2014/15 estimates on May 9, 2014.

Sep 12 2013 | Russia: High Potential Yield for Siberian Wheat
Russia's wheat harvest is estimated to rebound significantly from last year's 10-year low, based on higher winter-wheat output in European Russia and a high potential yield in Siberia. Specialists from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, including personnel from the Office of Agricultural Affairs in Moscow, conducted crop-assessment travel to western Siberia during the last half of August. The team examined field conditions and met with farmers, agricultural officials, and private commodity analysts in order to determine wheat-harvest prospects for 2013/14. Although crops were observed to be in very good condition and grain producers are expecting high yields, late planting and delayed crop development have increased the risk of potential harvest losses. Russia wheat production is estimated at 54.0 million tons against 37.7 million last year, when severe drought sharply reduced spring-wheat yield in the Volga, Ural, and Siberian Districts.

Mar 20 2013 | Ukraine and Russia: 2013/14 Winter Grain Conditions
Winter grains in both Ukraine and Russia are in generally good condition as they begin to break dormancy in southern territories. Total losses due to fall dryness and frost damage have not yet been determined but are not likely to be extensive. Subsurface moisture reserves are adequate in most regions. Prospects in the more northern production zones can be more fully assessed as snow cover retreats and winter crops resume vegetative growth.

Jan 14 2013 | Russia: January Conditions for 2013/14 Winter Grains
Current conditions for Russia’s 2013/14 winter grains are good, or at least improving, in most main production regions. Three months of persistent fall dryness resulted in generally unfavorable conditions for winter-crop emergence and development in parts of southern Russia, although subsequent showers have resulted in vigorous growth in some areas. Meanwhile, conditions are unusually good in the Central and Volga Districts, which account for most of the remainder of Russia’s winter grains. The Ministry of Agriculture cites sown winter-grain area for 2013/14 at 15.54 million hectares (including 12.9 million wheat, 1.94 million rye, 0.42 million barley, and 0.26 million triticale), against 16.13 million hectares for 2012/13. Planting was essentially complete by the end of October.

Aug 15 2012 | Russian Wheat Prospects Continue to Deteriorate
The USDA reduced estimated production for 2012/13 Russia wheat to 43.0 million tons, down 6.0 million or 12 percent from last month and down 13.2 million or 24 percent from last year. This would mark the third-lowest harvest since 2000/01. (Russia’s wheat production was frequently below 43 million tons during the 1990’s due chiefly to a drop in yield following the breakup of the Soviet Union and the loss of heavy State subsidies to the agriculture sector.) The USDA does not maintain official area and production data for winter and spring wheat individually, but analysis of weather data and satellite imagery indicate that yield prospects for both crops are extremely poor.

Jun 21 2012 | Russia: Heat and Dryness Dim Wheat Prospects in the Southern District
Excessive heat and dryness during April and May has reduced yield prospects for winter wheat in Russia's Southern District, but improving crop conditions in the Central Distict and generally good conditions in the Volga District are likely to compensate in part for the drought damage in the south. The USDA estimates Russia wheat production for 2012/13 at 53.0 million tons, down 3.0 million from last month and down 3.2 million from last year.

Aug 19 2010 | Russia: Dryness Delays the Launch of Sowing Campaign for 2011/12 Winter Grains
The ongoing drought in the Volga and Central Districts of European Russia has delayed the launch of the fall sowing campaign for 2011/12 winter grains. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, fewer than 21,000 hectares of winter crops had been planted by August 18 compared to 571,000 hectares by the same date last year.

Nov 17 2009 | Russia: Conditions Improving for 2010/11 Winter Grains
The planted area for 2010/11 winter grains in Russia is likely to surpass last year's level despite persistent dryness throughout the sowing campaign. Although the drought reportedly hampered crop emergence and establishment and necessitated replanting in some fields, timely rainfall reversed the dryness and winter crops likely escaped irreversible damage in most areas.

Mar 16 2009 | Russia: Current Conditions for 2009/10 Winter Grains
Russia's sown winter-grain area for 2009/10 reportedly reached 17.1 million hectares, the highest level in at least seven years. Winter damage was unusually low and current crop conditions are good, but subsurface moisture reserves remain below normal in parts of southern Russia.

Feb 2 2009 | Wheat Production Situation January 2009
In September of 2008 FOB Gulf prices for wheat were down slightly from prices in 2007, while prices for soybeans and corn were much higher, indicating the incentives to plant wheat for the 2009/10 crop have diminished compared to a year ago. Additionally, many market watchers have been reporting high input prices and lower availability of credit. With continuing low stock levels and fairly high prices compared to previous years, there are still incentives for Northern Hemisphere farmers to produce wheat, although they are less compelling than a year ago.

Aug 21 2008 | Russia: Grain Production Prospects and Siberia Trip Report
Analysts from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Washington, with the U.S. agricultural attache in Moscow, conducted July crop-assessment travel in the Siberian District of Russia to assess 2008/09 wheat production prospects and other crop-production issues.

Aug 17 2006 | Russia: Excessive Heat Places Sunflowers and Corn Under Stress
The USDA August 2006/07 estimate for Russia sunflowerseed production is 6.5 million tons, roughly matching last year's level. Corn production is estimated at 3.6 million tons, up 0.4 million from last year. Russia's Southern District, which accounts for roughly 60 percent of the country's sunflowerseed output and 80 to 90 percent of the corn, has been marked by persistent heat during the past two weeks. Temperatures were high in eastern Ukraine as well, which is another key corn and sunflowerseed region.

May 30 2006 | Russia: Wheat Prospects Worse than Average in Volga and Central Districts
The USDA May estimate for 2006/07 Russia wheat production is 42.0 million tons, against 47.7 million last year. Specialists from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) traveled to Russia's key Southern District in late April to examine winter wheat conditions and to meet with local agricultural officials, grain producers, and independent commodity analysts. The team observed crops to be in good condition in Krasnodar and southern Rostov territories, with little apparent frost damage resulting from low January temperatures.

Mar 27 2006 | Russia: Potential Winter Wheat Damage Due to Ice Crusting in Southern Distr
Fall and winter weather has been generally unfavorable for 2006/07 winter crops in Russia's key production zones, especially in the Southern and Volga Districts. Fall dryness delayed planting and hampered crop emergence and establishment, and severe January frosts destroyed winter wheat plantings in areas where shallow or patchy snow cover failed to provide adequate protection from the cold (see January 25 and February 10 articles). February ushered in a new threat: the likely formation of localized but potentially damaging ice crusts in parts of Russia's prime winter wheat region.

Jan 25 2006 | Russia: Localized Damage Likely to Volga Valley Wheat
A brief episode of bitterly cold weather between January 16 and January 20 likely resulted in damage to winter wheat in parts of the Volga, Central, and Southern Districts. Minimum temperatures dropped below -30 degrees Celsius for two to three consecutive days in some areas, and ranged from -22 to -30 degrees throughout southern Russia. Although persistent fall dryness delayed winter-grain planting and hampered crop establishment (see December 15 report), winter crops in Russia were fully dormant when the cold weather arrived and were protected in many areas by adequate insulating snow cover. But in regions of sustained low temperatures with thin or patchy snow -- which includes parts of the prime winter-wheat territories of Saratov and Volgograd -- soil temperatures likely dropped to levels low enough to cause damage to dormant winter crops.

Dec 15 2005 | Russia: Unfavorable Establishment Conditions for Winter Grains
Persistent fall dryness in Russia's key winter-grain production regions resulted in unfavorable establishment conditions for 2006/07 winter crops and likely contributed to a reduction in planted area.

Nov 14 2005 | Ukraine Corn: Record Yield for 2005/06
The USDA's November estimate for Ukraine corn production for 2005/06 is 6.5 million tons from harvested area of 1.6 million hectares. Yield is estimated at 4.06 tons per hectare -- the highest yield on record -- and harvest-progress reports from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that final yield could climb even higher. This year's outstanding yield is chiefly the result of adequate and timely rainfall during the growing season followed by remarkably dry harvest weather. Yield also benefited from continuing gradual improvements in technology, including the increasing use of quality planting seed and modest increases in the application of mineral fertilizers and plant-protection chemicals.

Oct 18 2005 | Russia: Estimated Cost of Production for Major Crops
The cost of production (COP) for major agricultural commodities in Russia has increased significantly this year due primarily to higher prices for fuel and fertilizer. Personnel from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service gathered cost-of-production data during crop-assessment travel in key grain-producing regions in central and southern Russia in April 2005. The estimated production costs for wheat and other crops in Russia (Tables 1 and 2) reflect approximate costs derived chiefly from interviews with farm directors, commodity analysts, and federal and local agricultural officials, and are not based on official data. Costs for U.S. wheat (Table 1) are based on cost and return estimates from the USDA Economic Research Service. Note that the COP figures in Table 1 were obtained from different sources and that comparisons between U.S. and Russian costs should be made cautiously.

Sep 29 2005 | Russia and Ukraine: Winter Grain Establishment Hampered by Dryness
Persistent dryness in Ukraine and southern Russia over the past four to six weeks has resulted in significant delays in the planting of winter grains for 2006/07 and unfavorable conditions for the establishment of recently planted crops.

Aug 18 2005 | Russia: Harvest Progressing Ahead of Last Year's Pace
The USDA August estimate for 2005/06 Russia wheat production is 47.0 million tons, unchanged from last month and up 1.7 million from last year. Area is estimated at 25.5 million hectares, up 1.3 million from last year. Barley output is estimated at 16.5 million tons, unchanged from last month and down 0.7 million from last year. Estimated area is down 0.4 million hectares, to 9.6 million. An increase in the sown area of winter grains (chiefly wheat) is forecast to compensate for a slight reduction in yield, and harvest prospects in the spring wheat region are similar to last year. Total grain production is forecast to remain essentially stable at an estimated 77.9 million tons.

Jun 1 2005 | Russia: Winter Wheat in Excellent Condition
Satellite-derived vegetative indices (NDVI) indicate outstanding crop conditions as of May 20 in Russia's Southern and southern Central Districts, two key areas in Russia's prime winter wheat zone. Winter-crop development accelerated in April, following a slow start-up due to low March temperatures, and winter grains continued to benefit from favorable weather in May. Although recent dry weather has reduced topsoil moisture, subsurface reserves are adequate for winter grains in all main production regions.

Russian agricultural officials recently announced final net grain production for 1999/2000 at 54.7 million tons, reflecting a 15 percent rebound from last year's 40-year low level of 47.7 million. Total grain area, meanwhile, dropped 8 percent to 46.5 million hectares. Although the higher output and lower area translated to a 25-percent year-to-year increase in total-grain yield, to 1.17 tons per hectare, yield remained nearly 10 percent below the average of the past five years. Data from the Russian State Statistical Committee and the Economic Trends Center of Russia indicate substantial declines in regional total-grain area over the past ten years in every major production region, due largely to reduced demand for feed grains following sharp reduction in livestock inventories. While wheat area has remained relatively stable since 1990, the area of coarse grains (including barley, rye, oats, corn, and millet) has plunged nearly 40 percent

Sunflowerseed is the chief oilseed crop in Russia and Ukraine, and both countries recorded substantial increases in production for 1999/2000. According to preliminary harvest results released by the respective State statistical committees, output reached 4.0 million tons in Russia, up over 30 percent from last year, and 2.75 million in Ukraine, up 20 percent from last year. Sunflower area has grown to record levels over the past five years, to 5.3 million hectares in Russia and 2.8 million in Ukraine.

Signals are mixed regarding the availability of fuel for the spring sowing campaign in Russia and Ukraine. In Russia, a likely increase in State support could result in increased fuel availability for the agricultural sector, according to an U.S. agricultural attache report. Recent comments by agricultural officials, however, indicate that fuel shortages have already had an impact on planting progress and warn of continued shortages during spring planting. This is nothing new -- agricultural officials routinely raise alarms warning of insufficient resources for the spring planting campaign in an effort to stimulate increased State funding for the agricultural sector. Planting-progress data, however, suggest that the problem has genuinely intensified over the past five years. Due chiefly to scarce fuel supplies and a lack of operational equipment, the amount of time required to complete spring planting has increased in recent years, effectively shortening the growing season for spring crops and reducing yield potential. Between 1992 and 1995, for example, spring planting in Russia was typically 60 percent complete by May 20; between 1996 and 1999, only 45 percent complete.

According to a report from the U.S. agricultural office in Moscow, Russian grain production for 2000/01 will benefit from favorable weather and a slight increase in fertilizer and chemical availability. The report emphasized, however, that severe capital shortages persist, and that the modest improvements do not necessarily signal a reversal of fortune for the beleaguered agricultural sector. At the outset of the sowing campaign, Russian agricultural officials issued warnings regarding scarce fuel supplies (see April 20 update), and recent comments from officials, as cited by the Interfax new agency, indicate that fuel shortages continue to hamper sowing progress. Planting-progress figures released by the Ministry of Agriculture, however, suggest that early-season sowing is proceeding at a normal rate. As of April 25, State farms had planted spring grains on 4.1 million hectares, or approximately 12 percent of the total forecast spring-grain area. This pace is nearly identical -- in terms of percentage of final spring-grain area -- to five of the past seven years.

From May 1 through May 4, and again from May 12 through May 14, temperatures dropped below freezing throughout the Russian winter-grain region. The winter-grain zone is situated in European Russia and includes the North Caucasus, lower Volga Valley, and Central Black Earth regions in the southern portion, and the upper Volga Valley, Central, and Volga-Vyatka regions in the north. At the time of the two cold spells, winter grains were largely in the jointing (stem-extension) stage, during which they are able to withstand temperatures of -4 degrees without damage. The development of spring-planted grains, which are grown throughout the winter-wheat zone, was roughly two weeks behind that of the winter grains, which enabled them to sustain even colder weather. Temperatures generally did not fall below -2 degrees Celsius in the main (southern) grain-production zone, where winter wheat is the major crop. In the more northern regions, where temperatures reportedly dropped to -9 degrees Celsius, spring grains and cold-tolerant winter rye are the predominant winter grains, and damage likely was relatively minor.

Oct 7 1999 | Russian Winter-Grain Sowing Ahead of Last Year
Sowing of the 2000/01 Russian winter-grain crop is proceeding ahead of last year's pace. Planting-progress reports indicate that 11.7 million hectares of winter crops were sown as of October 4, against 10.7 million last year. Agricultural officials are forecasting that winter-grain area will likely exceed the official target of 15.1 million hectares. The pace of planting is slowing, however - only 0.2 million hectares were planted during the week prior to October 4, and fall sowing is typically 90 percent complete by the end of September. This suggests that final sown area is unlikely to reach the target. Final sown area for 1999/2000 was 12.3 million hectares.

Dryness prevailed in early October throughout the prime winter-wheat region of the former Soviet Union during winter-grain planting and early establishment. Rainfall during mid-October replenished surface-soil moisture in Russia, but conditions remained dry in south-central Ukraine. Dryness intensified in southern Ukraine into early November, resulting in continued unfavorable conditions for winter-crop establishment.

A brief episode of frigid weather in the former Soviet Union (FSU) winter-grain region during late November resulted in little or no crop damage in the key winter-wheat zone. Minimum temperatures fell in some areas to below -20 degrees Celsius, but accompanying snow provided protection from the extreme cold. During the past week, minimum temperatures remained above freezing throughout most of the winter-grain region and snow cover receded in the North Caucasus, lower Volga Valley, and southern Ukraine.

Unusually warm weather has prevailed over the past two weeks throughout much of the prime winter-wheat region of southern Russia and southern and eastern Ukraine. Parts of central and southern Ukraine, the North Caucasus, and the Volga Valley are devoid of protective snow cover. In some oblasts, average daily temperatures have exceeded 5 degrees Celsius for over ten consecutive days -- warm enough for winter wheat to have broken dormancy.

Jun 10 2005 | Sunflowerseed Production: Rebound in Ukraine, Level in Russia
The USDA estimates Ukraine sunflowerseed production for 2005/06 at 4.0 million tons, up 30 percent from last year when persistently wet weather reduced yield. Russian production is estimated at 4.8 million tons, roughly the same as last year.

The Ministry of Agriculture has announced that total 2000/01 spring-grain area on State farms (which produce over 90 percent of the total grain crop) reached 33.0 million hectares, 2.0 million hectares less than the amount sown last year and roughly 5 percent short of the target of 34.5 million hectares. This year's sowing progress was plagued by weather-related delays in the Urals and Siberia, both important spring-wheat regions. The shortfall in spring-grain sowing, however, will be partially offset by a million-hectare increase in the projected harvested area of winter grains, which typically yield 60-80 percent higher than spring grains.

The USDA has increased its estimate of 2000/01 Russia wheat production from 33.0 to 34.0 million tons, up from 31.0 million last year, and reduced the Ukraine estimate from 13.0 to 12.0 million, down from 13.5 million last year. The revisions are based on generally favorable weather throughout June in European Russia, and the persistent dryness in southern Ukraine. Comparison of output from the CERES (Ritchie) yield-simulation model for June 30, 1999 and June 30, 2000 shows the impact of drought in southern Ukraine and Moldova and the substantial year-to-year improvement in crop conditions in the Volga Valley and Central Black Earth region. AVHRR satellite imagery from May is largely consistent with the results of the yield models, and reflects the overall year-to-year decline in crop conditions throughout Ukraine.

The USDA forecasts 2000/01 Russian total-grain production at roughly 62 million tons, including 34 million tons of wheat, unchanged from last month's estimate. As of August 10, Russia's public-sector farms had harvested 25.3 million tons of grain from 11.3 million hectares, according to an agricultural official cited by the Reuters news agency. The amount of grain threshed is roughly one million tons higher than by the same date last year, and the reported yield of 2.29 tons per hectares is up 20 percent. Quality is reportedly higher than last year. The pace of harvest, however, is lagging behind both last year, when nearly 13 million hectares had been harvested by the same date, and the average of the past ten years (roughly 30 percent complete this year against an average of 40 percent). Wet weather in parts of European Russia is aggravating the already-slow progress.

The USDA increased its estimate of Russian grain production for 2000/01 from 61.7 to 64.2 million tons (including roughly 1.5 million tons of pulses and miscellaneous grains). Harvest was approximately 75 percent complete as of September 4, with a reported 48 million tons threshed (bunker weight, prior to cleaning and drying). Wheat production is reported at 23.6 million tons, up from 21.3 million at the same time last year. (The USDA estimates Russian wheat production for 2000/01 at 36.5 million tons, against 31.0 million in 1999/2000.) Although the reported yield of 1.8 tons per hectare is up 20 percent from the same time last year, yield is dropping rapidly from week to week, compared to other years.

The USDA increased its estimate of Russian grain production for 2000/01 from 61.7 to 64.2 million tons (including roughly 1.5 million tons of pulses and miscellaneous grains). Harvest was approximately 75 percent complete as of September 4, with a reported 48 million tons threshed (bunker weight, prior to cleaning and drying). Wheat production is reported at 23.6 million tons, up from 21.3 million at the same time last year. (The USDA estimates Russian wheat production for 2000/01 at 36.5 million tons, against 31.0 million in 1999/2000.) Although the reported yield of 1.8 tons per hectare is up 20 percent from the same time last year, yield is dropping rapidly from week to week, compared to other years.

The USDA estimates Russian total-grain production for 2000/01 at 64.5 million tons, including roughly 1.5 million tons of pulses and miscellaneous grains. Wheat production is estimated at 36.5 million tons, unchanged from last month and up from 31.0 million last year. According to a Ministry of Agriculture report cited by the Bridge news agency, harvest was nearing completion as of October 11 with output at 67.6 million tons bunker weight (prior to cleaning and drying), which translates to roughly 63 million tons net weight. Bunker-weight yield is reported at 1.70 tons per hectare, up from 1.49 tons per hectare last year. Corn harvest is roughly 25 percent complete and stands at nearly 0.7 million tons. USDA forecasts final output at 2.0 million.

The fall sowing campaign in Ukraine is now complete. According to data released by the Ukraine Ministry of Agriculture and reported by the Bridge and Reuters news agencies, sown winter-crop area for 2001/02 totaled 8.5 million hectares (compared to 7.9 million last year), including 6.9 (6.4) million hectares of wheat. In Russia, meanwhile, fall planting is finished in the northern and central regions and is approaching completion in the south. Ministry of Agriculture data reported by Bridge and Interfax new agencies indicate that 12.6 million hectares of winter crops had been sown as of October 11, against a target of 15.4 million. This includes 11.9 million hectares of winter grains (up slightly from 12.3 million sown by the same date last year) against a target of 14.6 million. Dry weather during the first half of October enabled planting to proceed at an faster pace than in recent years -- roughly one million hectares per week for the past three weeks -- and compensate for earlier delays.

Unusually dry weather throughout October enabled Russian farmers to extend the winter-crop planting season and exceed last year's sown area by over 0.4 million hectares. According to a Ministry of Agriculture official cited by the Bridge news agency, 13.86 million hectares of winter crops had been sown on State agricultural enterprises as of November 8, up slightly from 13.42 million by the same date last year. (State farms accounted for a reported 92 percent of Russia's estimated 2000/01 total-grain output of 64.5 million tons.) Winter grains, chiefly wheat and rye, typically comprise 90-95 percent of total winter-crop area. The fall sowing campaign in Ukraine, meanwhile, was finished in late October, with sown winter-crop area for 2001/02 reported at 8.5 million hectares (compared to 7.9 million last year), including 6.9 (6.4) million hectares of wheat

Sown area for 2001/02 winter-grains in Russia totaled approximately 14.7 million hectares, up from 13.8 million last year, according to data published by SovEcon, an independent Moscow-based agricultural research institute. Ukraine completed its fall sowing campaign in mid-October, with farms planting an estimated 8.5 million hectares of winter crops (chiefly winter grains), up from 7.9 million last year. Although the weather was generally mild as the winter grains advanced toward dormancy, soil moisture was inadequate for proper crop establishment in many key winter-wheat areas and remains low following nearly two months of unusually dry weather. Key portions of the region, including eastern Ukraine and Russia's North Caucasus, Central Black Earth, and Volga Valley regions, received less than 25 millimeters (one inch) of precipitation during November. This followed an equally dry October, during which western and central Ukraine received virtually no precipitation, and the dry pattern has continued through the first half of December.

Temperatures have been above average for nearly two months in the winter-wheat region of the former Soviet Union (FSU). Despite brief episodes of cold weather in January, little or no cold-related damage has occurred so far this season in Ukraine or southern Russia. Temperatures dropped to minus 18 degrees Celsius in mid-January in parts of the central Volga Valley, but snow cover during this time was sufficient to protect winter crops from the cold. In areas devoid of protective snow cover (Odesa and Donetsk in southern Ukraine, Krasnodar in Russia's North Caucasus region), temperatures were not low enough or sustained enough to cause damage.

The four-month period ending January 31 was the driest in the past twenty years in eastern Ukraine and southern Russia (specifically the North Caucasus region), and the second driest in southern Ukraine. The long-term dryness is reflected in the low subsoil moisture levels as of February 1, 2001, with moisture shortages noticeably more widespread than for the same date in 1999 and 2000. Since winter grains are currently dormant, the dryness is not having an immediate impact on crop conditions, but winter is typically a time when soil moisture is recharged -- or, in the case of accumulated snow cover, when conditions are favorable for potential recharge. (As of February 5, snow cover was shallow in extreme southern and eastern Ukraine and throughout the North Caucasus region.) If little or no soil-moisture reserves are available in March, when winter grains in the south resume tillering and water consumption increases, the crop will be particularly vulnerable to stress in the event of spring drought. It should be emphasized, however, that winter wheat is an extremely resilient crop and above-normal spring rainfall can compensate for poor establishment and low winter precipitation. This happened in 1990: conditions were similarly dry in February, but ideal weather from April through June resulted in excellent winter-wheat yields.

A cooling trend during late March interrupted development of winter grains that had gotten off to a relatively quick start this year. Above-normal temperatures during the first three weeks of March caused winter crops to break dormancy earlier than usual in southern Ukraine and southern Russia. Temperatures then dipped during the remainder of the month, slowing winter crop development. (View average daily temperatures for western, central, and eastern Ukraine, Russia's North Caucasus and lower Volga Valley.) Average temperatures for the month of March, however, indicate that winter grain development is still ahead of last year and ahead of normal

A return to warm weather following a cool spell during the last half of March stimulated vegetative growth of winter grains in the western former Soviet Union (FSU). As of mid-April, winter wheat development was slightly ahead of last year's crop in southern Ukraine and southern Russia, and winter grains had broken dormancy over a significantly larger area than last year.

The USDA forecasts that Russian grain production for 2001/02 will increase to 67.6 million tons, from 65.6 million last year, due chiefly to increased area. Total projected grain output includes 37.0 million tons of wheat (up from 34.5 million last year), 14.5 (14.1) million barley, 5.2 (5.5) million rye, 5.5 (6.0) million oats, 1.0 (1.1) million millet, 1.5 (1.6) million corn, and roughly 1.3 million tons of pulses and miscellaneous grains. Estimated total grain area increased by 2.1 million hectares to 47.6 million, including 24.3 (23.2) million wheat, and (9.2) million barley.

The USDA estimates Russian total grain production for 2001/02 at 67.6 million tons (up from 65.5 million last year), including 37.0 (34.5) million tons of wheat, and Ukrainian total grain output at 28.8 (24.8) million tons, including 16.0 (10.2) million wheat.

Analysts from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service traveled to Moscow June 6-10 to examine 2001/02 harvest prospects. Interviews with agricultural officials and independent observers indicated that current USDA estimates of grain production provide an accurate assessment of harvest prospects at this time. Russian grain production for 2001/02 is forecast to increase by 2.0 million tons from last year to 67.6 million following an increase in sown area and generally favorable weather. Wheat output is forecast at 37.0 million tons, against 34.5 million last year. Establishment and over-wintering conditions for winter grains were good, and spring weather has been generally favorable for both winter and spring grains. The spring sowing campaign is complete, and farms reportedly met the spring grain target of 34.5 million hectares. (See trip report and current grain-production estimates.)

Jul 13 2001 | Russia and Ukraine: Sunflowerseed Slip Seen for 2001/02
A reduction in sown area and estimated yields will lower 2001/02 sunflowerseed production in both Russia and Ukraine. Russian output is forecast at 3.2 million tons (against 3.9 million last year), from an estimated area of 3.9 (4.4) million hectares. Ukrainian production is forecast to drop by nearly 30 percent from last years 3.5 million tons, to an estimated 2.5 million for 2001/02. Ukrainian area is estimated at 2.2 (2.8) million hectares. Lower yield is expected in both countries, due in part to unfavorably wet, cool weather which impeded planting and slowed early establishment. Weather has been especially wet in Ukraines main sunflower region, with excessive rainfall during both May and June.

Aug 16 2001 | Russia: Higher Winter Wheat Yield, But Corn Impacted by Heat Stress
Russian total grain production for 2001/02 is estimated at 69.8 million tons, up from 65.5 million last year. Estimated wheat production is up 4.0 million tons from last year, to 38.5 million. Corn production is forecast to drop 35 percent from last year, to an estimated 1.0 million tons, following excessive July heat in European Russia.

Aug 31 2001 | Russia: Preliminary Yields Point Toward Bumper Crop
Russia's 2001/02 grain harvest continues to outpace recent years. According to Ministry of Agriculture data, nearly 55 million tons of grain (bunker weight, before cleaning and drying) had been threshed by August 28, compared to about 40 million tons by the same date last year. Harvest is roughly 50 percent complete. The substantial year-to-year increase is the result of an 18-percent increase in the area harvested to date, and an 18-percent jump in yield. The Ministry of Agriculture boosted its forecast of 2001/02 total grain production to 74-75 million tons, compared to 65.5 million last year.

Sep 14 2001 | Russia and Ukraine: Harvest Estimates Continue to Climb
USDA estimates Russian grain production for 2001/02 at 74.9 million tons, compared to 65.5 million in 2000/01. Wheat production is estimated at 41.5 million tons, up 3.0 million from last month, and 7.0 million from last year. Barley output is forecast at 16.0 million tons, up 1.5 million from last month, and 1.9 million from last year. Harvest is roughly two-thirds complete, and reports from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that the total grain yield as of September 4 is the highest since 1991. (Prior to the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, harvest reports were not issued for the individual republics.) Harvest is underway in the Urals region and Western Siberia, Russia's spring wheat zone. The yield potential of spring wheat is relatively high following favorable weather during the growing season, but likely not as high as in 2000/01, when grain yield in western Siberia climbed to the highest level in over ten years. Harvest will continue throughout October, and final output will depend in part on harvest weather.

Oct 3 2001 | Winter Grain Sowing Ahead of Last Year in Russia and Ukraine
Russian farms had sown 13.7 million hectares of 2002/03 winter grains as of October 1, compared to 11.6 million by the same date last year, according to Ministry of Agriculture data reported by the Reuters news service. The rapid pace is attributed in part to favorable weather in the Central and Volga regions of European Russia. The sowing of winter crops in Russia typically begins in August in the northern fringe of the agricultural zone and progresses southward throughout September and October. Planting is largely complete by early November.

Nov 2 2001 | Russia and Ukraine:No Damage to Winter Wheat
A recent cold snap likely had little or no significant impact on winter wheat in Russia and Ukraine, even though the crop had not finished advancing through the hardening process, during which the crop prepares to enter dormancy. During the past week, temperatures dropped to roughly five degrees Celsius below zero throughout the prime winter wheat areas of Russia and Ukraine, but the weather was not cold enough for a long enough period of time to result in winterkill. (See temperature graphs for southern Russia, the central Volga Valley, central Ukraine, and eastern Ukraine.)

Nov 9 2001 | Grain Harvest Complete in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakstan
All major grain-producing countries in the former Soviet Union harvested bumper grain crops this season. Total grain yield increased from last year by an estimated 20 percent in Russia, 33 percent in Ukraine, and 43 percent in Kazakstan. Several factors contributed to the high output: an increase in sown area in Russia and Ukraine, favorable weather in major growing regions throughout most of the growing season, and mostly dry harvest weather in all three countries.

Nov 14 2001 | Russia and Ukraine: Will Output Continue to Climb?
Russia's grain harvest rose to an estimated 82.0 million tons this year, the third consecutive year of increased production. Ukraine harvested an estimated 39.3 million tons, up 60 percent from last year. Weather remains the largest single factor in determining crop yield in these countries, but some recent changes in the agricultural sector also have contributed to the improved harvests: increased operating capital, resulting from the involvement of investment companies in the operation of former State and collective farms; modest increases in fertilizer application; improved fuel supplies, especially during the harvest campaign; increased efficiency in farm operations, including reduced post-harvest grain loss.

Feb 26 2002 | Russia and Ukraine: Winter Grains Likely to Break Dormancy Soon
As of February 22, winter grains were still dormant in Russia and Ukraine. February temperatures have been higher than last year throughout the winter wheat zone however, and grains could break dormancy by the end of the month in the southern regions if the warm weather continues. In order for winter grains to break dormancy and resume tillering, average daily temperatures typically need to reach 5 degrees Celsius for roughly ten to fourteen days. (See temperature charts for southern Ukraine, north-central Ukraine, southern Russia, and the Volga Valley.)

Apr 4 2002 | Russia and Ukraine: Winter Grain Growth and Spring Seeding Outpace Last Year
Because of relatively warm weather during February and March, winter-crop development is slightly ahead of last year in both Russia and Ukraine, and the spring sowing campaign has gotten off to an unusually early start. Planting in Ukraine is reportedly ahead of last year, and last year's spring sowing campaign was one of the most rapid in recent years. The early spring grains (chiefly barley, but also oats and wheat) are typically in the ground by mid-to-late April. Planting of the later spring grains (corn, millet, and buckwheat), is usually complete by mid-to-late May. In Russia, a reported 2 million hectares of spring grains had been planted by April 1, according to agricultural officials cited by the Reuters news agency. Although this is roughly double the area sown by the same date last year, spring planting in Russia is only 5-10 percent complete.

May 10 2002 | Estimated 2002/03 Grain Production Down from Last Year in Russia and Ukraine
The USDA estimates Russian total grain production for 2002/03 at 74.6 million tons (against 85.0 million in 2001/02), including 41.0 (46.9) million wheat, 16.0 (19.5) million barley, 6.0 (6.6) million rye, 7.0 (7.7) oats, 1.4 (0.8) million corn, 0.6 (0.6) millet, 0.3 (0.3) million rice, and 2.2 (2.4) million pulses and miscellaneous grains. While this marks a significant drop from last year's bumper crop, current crop conditions are generally favorable and estimated yield and production for 2002/03 are above average. Ukraine grain production for 2002/03 is estimated at 35.3 million tons (39.6 million in 2001/02), including 18.5 (21.3) million wheat, 9.0 (10.2) million barley, 3.7 (3.6) million corn,1.6 (1.8) million rye, 1.0 (1.1) million oats, and 1.5 (1.6) million pulses and miscellaneous grains. As in Russia, conditions have been generally favorable but not as good as last year. Winter-crop conditions improved over the course of the winter and early spring, following fall dryness that hampered germination and establishment in southern and eastern Ukraine. (View current USDA estimates of grain area and production for other countries of the former Soviet Union.)

May 23 2002 | Russia and Ukraine: May Dryness in Winter Wheat Zone
Satellite imagery from May 1-15 indicates that winter-grain conditions in Ukraine and southern Russia were relatively good prior to a recent dry spell which has raised alarms among local officials and crop analysts. Vegetative indices, a measure of crop vigor derived from the infra-red imagery, suggest that the condition of the winter grain crop in Russia's key Southern District (in early May) was arguably better than last year, when the region achieved one of the highest grain yields in recent years. In Ukraine, conditions were mixed relative to last year's bumper crop: slightly better in the northeast, slightly worse in the west, and comparable elsewhere. (Subsequent imagery will provide information regarding the impact of May dryness and the development and yield potential of later-developing grains in the more northern crop-production regions.)

Aug 13 2002 | Russia and Ukraine: High Temperatures Reduce Corn Prospects
The excessive July heat that has resulted in peat bog fires in north-central Russia has also likely had a negative impact on yield potential for corn in Russia and Ukraine. Maximum temperatures climbed above 35 degrees Celsius in southern and eastern Ukraine and southern Russia, the countries' key corn production regions, as the crop was tasseling and silking. It is during this reproductive stage that corn is especially vulnerable to heat stress. Ukraine corn production for 2002/03 is estimated at 3.0 million tons, against 3.6 million last year, and Russian output at 1.0 million, compared to 0.8 million last year when persistent drought sharply reduced yield

Jun 6 2005 | Russia: Winter Wheat in Excellent Condition
Satellite-derived vegetative indices (NDVI) indicate outstanding crop conditions as of May 20 in Russia's Southern and southern Central Districts, two key areas in Russia's prime winter wheat zone. Winter-crop development accelerated in April, following a slow start-up due to low March temperatures, and winter grains continued to benefit from favorable weather in May. Although recent dry weather has reduced topsoil moisture, subsurface reserves are adequate for winter grains in all main production regions.

Sep 26 2002 | Russia and Ukraine: Adequate Surface Moisture for Emerging Winter Grains
As of September 23, Russian farms had planted 10.1 million hectares of winter crops for 2003/04, including 9.7 million of winter grains, compared to 11.4 million hectares of winter crops by the same date last year, according to Ministry of Agriculture data reported by the Interfax news agency. Winter grains in Russia typically consist of 65 percent wheat, 30 percent rye, and 5 percent barley, and winter wheat comprises roughly one-third of total wheat area. Although sowing progress is behind last year's pace, due in part to previous dryness in southern Russia which delayed planting, reports from the U.S. agricultural attache in Moscow indicate that total sown winter grain area is forecast to be slightly higher than last year's 16.1 million hectares. Beneficial rainfall during the past two weeks replenished surface soil moisture in Russia's Southern district (including Krasnodar, Rostov, and Volgograd oblasts), enabling farmers to resume planting and improving conditions for emerging winter crops. Sub-surface moisture is still relatively low following an extended period of generally dry weather, but soil moisture is typically replenished over the winter.

Oct 21 2002 | Russia: Dry for Winter Wheat in Southern District
Establishment conditions are unfavorably dry for winter grains in parts of Russia's Southern district, which produces roughly 30 percent of the country's total wheat crop. Estimated surface soil moisture on October 8 was lower than last year in Krasnodar, Stavropol, and southern Rostov. Short-term dryness is not unusual in southern Russia, however, and soil moisture is typically replenished over the winter. In the Central and Volga districts, establishment conditions for winter grains are favorable.

Dec 11 2002 | Russia and Ukraine: Cold Snap in Winter Grain Zone
Winter wheat fields in parts of Ukraine and Russia likely suffered localized damage following two recent cold-weather episodes. In late November and early December, temperatures in some areas plunged to as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius for several consecutive days, cold enough to damage winter wheat in areas that had no protective snow cover. A large portion of Russia's prime winter wheat regions -- including Krasnodar, Stavropol, Rostov, and Volgograd oblasts -- had little or no snow cover during the first cold episode between November 30 and December 3. Snow-cover models and satellite imagery indicate that snow protection had improved somewhat in southern Russia by the time the second blast of cold air arrived on December 7, but crops in northern Krasnodar, western Rostov, and the southern Central district remained unprotected from temperatures that fell to damage-threshold levels through December 9. In eastern and southern Ukraine, where roughly one-half of the the country's winter wheat is grown, conditions were similar, with cold weather and little or no protective snow cover, but temperatures were not quite as low as in southern Russia. The weather was coldest in the east (in Kharkiv and Donetsk, for example), with temperatures as low at minus 20 degrees, but less severe in central and southern Ukraine. (At about the same time last year, Ukraine experienced even lower temperatures for a longer period of time, but wheat fields were protected by snow and little or no crop damage occurred.)

May 27 2003 | Russia: Winter Grain Conditions Considerably Below Last Year
Russian winter grain prospects for 2003/04 are significantly worse than last year due to a drop in sown area, above-average winterkill, and cool spring weather. The late spring also delayed the launch of the spring sowing campaign, although planting progress accelerated during May and is now in line with the average pace. On May 12, 2003, USDA released estimates of 2003/04 Russian grain production at 66.7 million tons (against 86.6 million last year), including 36.0 (50.6) million wheat, 15.0 (18.7) million barley, 5.0 (7.2) million rye, 6.0 (5.7) million oats, 1.2 (1.6) million corn, 0.5 (0.3) million millet, 0.3 (0.3) million rice, and 2.5 (2.2) million pulses and miscellaneous grains. USDA reports and field travel confirmed this initial assessment of Russia's production potential for 2003/04.

Jul 15 2003 | Russia: Wheat Output to Drop 33 Percent
Analysts from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service traveled to Moscow and southern Russia in April to assess 2003/04 grain production prospects. The team met with farmers, local and federal agricultural officials, grain traders, and independent agricultural specialists. The information gathered from these sources, combined with analysis of recent weather and satellite imagery data, indicate that Russian grain production for 2003/04 will drop significantly from last year due to a reduction in sown winter grain area, higher than usual winterkill, unfavorable spring weather  which reduced winter grain yield potential and hampered spring grain sowing, and continued sub-optimal use of fertilizers and plant-protection chemicals. The USDA estimates total Russian grain production at 65.2 million tons, down 25 percent from last years bumper crop of 86.6 million. Wheat production is estimated at 34.0 million tons, down 33 percent from last years 50.6 million (Russias highest wheat harvest since 1978/79), and barley at 15.5 million, down from 18.7 million last year.

Sep 15 2003 | Former Soviet Union Harvest Progress
Russian grain production for 2003/04 is estimated at 62.5 million tons (compared to 84.3 million in 2002/03), including 34.0 (50.6) million wheat and 15.5 (18.7) million barley. According to Ministry of Agriculture reports, harvest was over 60 percent complete as of September 8, with output cited at roughly 50 million tons and yield at 1.9 tons per hectare, against 69.5 million tons and 2.3 tons per hectare by the same date last year. The 2003 harvest campaign got off to an unusually poor start due chiefly to wet weather in southern Russia. Winter wheat prospects were hampered by lower sown area, higher than usual winterkill, and persistent spring dryness. (See Russia trip report.) The unfavorable conditions are reflected in the wheat harvest data reported by the Ministry of Agriculture: by the end of August, when winter wheat harvest is typically complete and spring wheat harvest is just getting underway, Russian farms had gathered only about 15 million tons of wheat against nearly 33 million last year.

Nov 13 2003 | Russia: Lower Area, Good Conditions for Winter Grains
Russia's winter grain area for 2004/05 is likely to drop roughly 5 percent from last year, but sown area increased slightly in the Southern District -- the country's most important winter wheat region -- and current winter crop conditions are good throughout the country. Winter grain planting got off to a slow start this year due to persistent rainfall in Russia's Central and Volga districts. (Winter grain sowing in European Russia begins in the northern growing regions in late August and advances southward.) The pace accelerated during September, but final sown area is forecast to decrease slightly -- from 14.0 million hectares in 2003/04 to approximately 13.2 million this season -- despite higher grain prices. The U.S. agricultural attaché in Moscow attributes the drop in area to several factors:

Mar 10 2004 | Russia: Favorable Conditions for Winter Grains
Russian farms planted winter grains on 13.6 million hectares for 2004/05 (including 13.2 million on agricultural enterprises), according to data from SovEcon, an independent commodity analysis institute in Moscow. Wheat typically comprises 65 to 70 percent of winter grain area, rye 25 to 30 percent, and barley about 5 percent. Winter grain area is down 11 percent from last year, when 14.9 million hectares were sown, but severe winter weather destroyed a reported 25 percent of the 2003/04 crop and harvested area fell to less than 11 million hectares.

Aug 17 2004 | Russia: Wheat Production Forecast Above Average
Conditions have improved for spring wheat in Siberia, with generous July rainfall reversing early-season dryness, but persistent drought will likely reduce yield in the Ural District. Meanwhile, winter grain harvest is nearly complete in the Southern District and farmers have gathered a bumper winter wheat crop. The USDA estimates Russian wheat production for 2004/05 at 43.5 million tons, against 34.1 million last year and 50.6 million in 2002/03.

Oct 13 2004 | Winter Grains Conditions in Russia and Ukraine
The sowing campaign for the 2005/06 winter grain crops in Russia and Ukraine is nearing completion. Reports from the Russian Ministry of Agriculture indicate that large agricultural enterprises, which account for roughly 85 percent of the country's grain production, had sown 10.8 million hectares of winter grains by October 5 against 10.9 million by approximately the same date last year. In Ukraine, official data place sown area at 6.7 million hectares (against a target of 7.9 million), including 5.7 (6.5) million hectares of wheat. Winter grain planting in both Russia and Ukraine is typically 80 to 85 percent complete by early October.

Nov 18 2004 | Winter Grain Conditions in Russia and Ukraine
Early prospects for 2005/06 winter grains in Russia and Ukraine are favorable. Sown area is likely to increase in both countries and crop conditions are generally good although unusually warm weather has delayed the process through which the grains prepare for dormancy.

May 25 2005 | Russia: Late Spring Delays Sowing Campaign
Analysts from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service conducted field travel in southern Russia during April to assess production prospects for winter grains and planting progress for early spring grains. The team met with agricultural officials, farm directors, and independent commodity analysts in Moscow, the Southern District, and the southern Central District to examine the likely effects of unusually mild winter weather and a cool, late spring. Winter wheat conditions are good in the Southern District, the country's prime winter wheat region, and generally favorable in the Central District although winter-crop development was delayed by periods of cool spring weather.

Mar 10 2005 | Russia: Agricultural Overview
The Russian agricultural sector is struggling to rebuild as it transforms itself from a command economy to a more market-oriented system. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, large State farms had to contend with the sudden loss of heavy government subsidies.

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