Pace of Russia wheat harvest slows on delays in Siberia, Urals regions: ministry


The pace of the wheat harvest in Russia is lower year on year as of September 20 after harvesting in the eastern regions of Siberia and the Urals got off to a late start due to delayed sowing and poor weather, the agriculture ministry said.

This is in contrast to a month ago when an earlier-than-usual start to harvesting in the south of Russia because of favorable weather meant the pace of harvesting was quicker year on year.

But that situation reversed as the harvest moved into eastern Russia, and Siberia and the Urals in particular, mainly producing spring crops. Late sowing and low temperatures during the development stage and rains in September resulted in delays to the harvest.

As of September 20 the country had harvested 35 million ha, or 78% of the seeded area, from 37.7 million ha harvested a year ago. Total grains production amounted to 93 million mt at an average yield of 2.65 mt/ha, down 0.44 mt/ha from a year ago.

However, in Siberia only 35.9% of the seeded area has been harvested, or 3.2 million ha, from 6.5 million ha a year ago. Total grains production amounted to 6.3 million mt, 44% less than a year ago, though yields are 13% higher at 1.96 mt/ha.

In its latest WASDE report, the USDA has estimated Russian wheat production this year at 71 million mt, down from 85 million mt last year.

Some sources, however, have said that this number does not take into account the situation in eastern Russia, in which case grain production, and wheat in particular, may be lower than most recent estimates suggest.

In addition, the agriculture ministry last week wrote off 700,000 ha under wheat due to crop damage, which also may not have been considered in the estimates.

There have also been estimates of lower wheat output in some other key countries. Statistic Canada estimates national wheat production this year at 29 million mt, down 3% from last year. In Australia, wheat production is forecast at 19.1 million mt, down from 21.2 million mt last year, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARE). Lastly, EU soft wheat production is forecast at 129.8 million mt this year, down 9% year on year, according to European Commission estimates.

Such forecasts appear to provide some support to wheat prices. S&P Global Platts assessed Russian 12.5% protein wheat at $221.25/mt Friday, up $2.50/mt week on week.



Readers choice: TOP-5 articles of the month by UkrAgroConsult