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Commodity Intelligence Report
March 30, 2007

Ukraine:  Winter Grains in Good Condition as Spring Growth Resumes

Early prospects for 2007/08 Ukraine winter grains are generally favorable.  Unusually mild weather throughout the winter raised alarms about the lack of protective snow cover, but despite brief episodes of cold weather, temperatures did not drop low enough for a sufficient length of time to cause significant widespread frost damage.  Winter crops have resumed vegetative growth throughout the country, and officials estimate that winterkill will be slightly higher than last year but below the long-term average. 

Farmers in Ukraine planted 6.9 million hectares of winter grains for 2007/08, including 5.8 million wheat, 0.37 million rye, and 0.53 million barley.  While the totals for rye and barley roughly match last year, the sown area for wheat increased by 0.8 million hectares, or about 15 percent.  The increase is attributed in part to a rebound in wheat prices prior to the launch of the sowing campaign last fall.  Planting and establishment conditions for winter crops were largely favorable and were greatly improved from the previous year, when excessive and persistent dryness hampered establishment of 2006/07 winter crops.


Crop Stage as of March 20, 2007

According to a mid-March assessment report from the Hydromet Center of Ukraine, winter crops will need to be reseeded on about 10 percent of the sown area compared to less than 8 percent last year.  Although average winterkill over the past 20 years is about 15 percent, losses since 2001 have averaged only about 5 percent (not including 2003, when widespread ice crusting destroyed nearly 65 percent of Ukraine's winter grains). 

Growth-stage models indicate that winter wheat development was significantly ahead of both last year and the year before as of March 20.  Crops had resumed vegetative growth throughout the country as a result of unusually warm weather since February.  At the same time last year, winter wheat in most regions of Ukraine was just beginning to break dormancy.

Spring-grain planting is underway.  According to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy, 1.9 million hectares of winter crops had been sown as of March 23 (roughly 10 percent of the planned area), including 1.4 million hectares of barley, the country's chief spring grain. By the same date last year, spring planting had barely begun.

Current USDA area and production estimates for grains and other agricultural commodities are available on PECAD’s Agricultural Production page, or at PSD Online. Initial estimates of 2007/08 area and production will be released on May 11, 2007.

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

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