Weather setbacks prevent recovery in Ukraine wheat sowings


Agritel underlined Ukraine faces a second successive year of depressed winter wheat sowings, although this time not just from dryness, but with rains, and even snow, a worry too.

"Winter wheat acreage is expected to be at the same low levels as last year," Olivier Bouillet, a Kiev-based analyst at Agritel, underlining expectations from other commentators of depressed plantings.

Ukraine's agriculture ministry expects wheat planted ahead of the 2017 harvest to remain at last season's levels of 6.2m hectares.

UkrAgroConsult sees area remaining static at 6.35m hectares, behind the 6.75m hectares seeded for the 2015 harvest.

'Weather obstacles'

Ukraine's winter wheat sowings might have been expected to recover this year, given that last season's area was depressed by unusually dry autumn conditions.

"Given the last year's considerable area reduction, it would be logical to expect at least partial recovery of the acreage, but for weather obstacles," said Elizabeth Malyshko, chief grain market expert at UkrAgroConsult, said earlier this month.

However, Agritel stressed that weather conditions in Ukraine this year too have been unfavourable for wheat plantings.

Sowings were initially delayed because of dryness and again suffered in October due to plentiful rain and adverse moisture levels.

"Conditions are not pushing farmers to go ahead with their sowings," the Paris-based group said.

"For the second consecutive year, the winter wheat planted areas will again be particularly low."

Furthermore, Ukraine's north plains has seen snowfall already, one month earlier then normally expected, although Agritel's Mr Bouillet said this batch of early snow, at least, was not a huge concern for growers.

"Most of the snow has already melted," he said.


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