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Commodity Intelligence Report
August 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.

Winter wheat: According to Rosstat, the State Statistical Committee of Russia, the area sown to winter wheat increased by 6 percent from last year (Figure 1), to a record 14.6 million hectares, excluding nearly 0.3 million in Crimea. The crop benefited from extremely favorable weather throughout the main production zone. As of August 22, harvest was complete on about 50 percent of the sown wheat area. The Ministry of Agriculture reports cumulative bunker yield at 4.19 tons per hectare, excluding Crimea, 21 percent above the yield for the same date last year (Figure 2). Final net yield is typically about 5 percent lower than the bunker yield. Virtually all of the wheat harvested to date has been winter wheat in the Southern, North Caucasus, Central and Volga Districts; the harvest of the country’s winter wheat is nearly complete. The reported yields in all four winter-wheat districts as of August 22 stand at record or near-record levels: 6 percent above the record in the Southern District, 3 percent above in the North Caucasus District, 19 percent above in the Central District, and 35 percent above in the Volga District.

Spring wheat: Rosstat reports the final sown area for 2017 spring wheat at 13.0 million hectares compared to 13.7 million last year (Figure 3). Planted area is down year-to-year in every major spring wheat region, including the Siberian District (with 46 percent of Russia’s spring wheat area), the Volga District (28 percent), and the Ural District (18 percent). Area increased only in the Central District, which accounts for most of the country’s remaining spring wheat area. USDA estimates harvested total-wheat area (including both winter and spring wheat) at 26.8 million hectares, down 0.2 million from last year. All USDA estimates for Russia exclude estimated area and production in Crimea.

Above-average satellite-derived NDVI (normalized difference vegetation indices) reflect the excellent conditions for Russia’s 2017/18 spring grains (Figure 4). NDVI, both maps and charts, are from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite, processed by the NASA/USDA Global Agricultural Monitoring Project (GLAM). June and July weather was extremely favorable throughout most of the spring wheat zone. In the Volga District, the NDVI in late July, when NDVI typically provide the best indicator of potential spring wheat yield, were the highest in over ten years (Figure 5). In the Ural District, the NDVI for 2017 match the indices for 2011, when spring wheat yield reached the district record (Figure 6). The vegetative indices for the Siberian District suggest above-average but not record yield. Conditions varied among the district’s three main wheat territories. The NDVI in Altai in late July were similar to last year, when wheat yield reached a near-record level. In Novosibirsk, the NDVI indicate above-average potential yield for 2017 wheat. The NDVI in Omsk reflect localized below-normal precipitation from mid-June through mid-July and suggest average yield for 2017. The harvest of Russia’s spring wheat usually begins in the Volga District in mid-to-late August and concludes in Siberia in late October.

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

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For more information contact Mark Lindeman | | (202) 690-0143
USDA-FAS, Office of Global Analysis

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