Slow emergence leaves Ukrainian wheat crop vulnerable


Cold weather, early dryness, and then a spell of heavy rain during the sowing window, delayed the emergence of winter wheat in Ukraine, the European Commission said.

The Commission warned of "unfavourable conditions for the emergence of winter crops," in Ukraine, while in parts of Western Europe a spell of dry weather delayed sowings.

The delay to planting leaves the crop vulnerable to winter damage, the Commission said.

Delayed sowings

In Ukraine, "the long dry period that started at the beginning of September and caused delays to the sowing of winter crops," came to an end with heavy rainfall in the first half of October.

But in many area, those rains were unwantedly heavy, hitting production.

"More than 50 mm of daily rainfall was recorded locally in the oblasts of Vinnyts'ka, Odes'ka, Mykolayivs'ka and Kirovohrads'ka, causing further delays and damaging seedbeds," said the Commission said.

In other regions, the rainfall "allowed farmers to complete the sowing of winter crops," the Commission said.

Cold snap

Cold weather was also bad for Ukrainian crop.

"Temperatures dropped below the long-term average at the beginning of October, and daily averages remained below 10°C from 10 October to 6 November, thus slowing the emergence of winter crops," the Commission said.

"Warmer conditions prevailed from 6 to 13 November, but then temperatures dropped again to below the average."

Risk of winter damage

The poor conditions mean that part of the winter crop will need to be re-sown in spring, the Commission said, with the most affected area being Vinnyts'ka oblast, on the Moldovan border.

"In other oblasts, the impacts of the rather unfavourable start for winter crops on final yields will depend on weather conditions during winter and early spring."

"Late-sown crops are more sensitive to cold temperatures during winter, but losses in the density of plants might be compensated by a higher number of tillers if conditions are favourable during the beginning of spring."

Sowing delay in Western Europe

In Western Europe, meanwhile, sowing was delayed by dry weather.

"In much of Germany, the Benelux countries and northern and western France, overly dry soil conditions during the normal sowing window (second half of September and first half of October) delayed sowing activities and/or resulted in the poor emergence of crops that had already been sown," the Commission said.

Conditions improved thanks to "frequent precipitation during the second half of October improved soil water conditions," but the rains further delayed plantings.

"The predominance of below-average temperatures caused additional delays to the emergence and early establishment of crops in these regions."


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