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Commodity Intelligence Report
October 20, 2006

Ukraine:  Sown Area for 2007/08 Winter Wheat Likely to Increase by 15 Percent

Winter grain planting in Ukraine started later than normal but progressed well throughout September.  As of October 16, planting was significantly ahead of last year but slightly lower behind 2003 and 2004, when planting was essentially complete by mid-October.As of October 16, farmers in Ukraine had planted 6.63 million hectares of winter grains for 2007/08, against 5.2 million by the same date last year and approximately 7.2 million in 2003 and 2004.  The figure includes 5.6 million hectares of wheat, 0.36 million rye, and 0.44 million barley.  The fall sowing campaign is nearly complete; agricultural officials forecast total 2007/08 winter grain area at 7.06 million hectares, compared to final sown area of 6.06 million for 2006/07. 

Winter grain area for 2006/07 dropped sharply from the previous year for two reasons:  low wheat prices relative to barley (which is chiefly a spring-sown crop), and persistent fall dryness that hampered planting operations.  In June 2006, however, prices for feed wheat in Ukraine finally surpassed feed barley prices -- months before the launch of the fall sowing campaign -- and moisture conditions for planting have been considerably better than last season despite occasional brief dryness. 

Surface moisture (as measured by microwave satellite imagery) was above normal throughout Ukraine in late August and early September, just prior to the beginning of winter-grain planting.  Although surface moisture intensified between October 8 and October 15, conditions for the sowing and establishment of winter crops have not been marked by the excessive and persistent dryness that prevailed during the same time last year. 

Meanwhile, the sown area of winter rape jumped by an astonishing 73 percent from last year's level, to a reported 725,000 hectares.  This marks the second consecutive year of substantial growth in Ukraine rapeseed area, driven chiefly by high demand for rapeseed in the European Union.  Winter rape accounted for about 80 percent of total planted rape area in Ukraine for 2006/07. 

Current USDA area and production estimates for grains and other agricultural commodities are available on PECAD’s Agricultural Production page, or at PSD Online.

For more information contact Mark Lindeman | | (202) 690-0143

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