Russia May Reduce Sugar-Beet Sowing by 10% This Year, Ikar Says

Russia’s farmers may sow 10 percent fewer sugar beets in the spring in order to refine all of the crop in the next season which starts Aug. 1, the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies said.

Russia planted sugar beets over 1.3 million hectares (3.2 million acres) and harvested a record crop of 46.3 million metric tons in 2011, according to state statistics data.

Refineries, which worked this season at full capacity, used about 39 million tons of beets to produce 5 million tons of sugar by the end of January, according to Sugar Producers’ Union data.

Part of the crop was lost because Russia’s limited refining capacities could not handle it all while it was in a good condition, Yevgeny Ivanov, a senior sugar analyst at the institute known as Ikar, said by phone in Moscow today. To avoid future losses, farmers may reduce the beet-sowing area to about 1.17 million hectares this year, he said.

Sugar production is slowing down now with 12 out of a total of 79 refineries working on beet processing, the sugar union said on its website earlier this week.

Top producers include Prodimex Group with about 1.1 million tons of sugar, OAO Razgulay Group (GRAZ) with about 570,000 tons, Dominant Group with more than 560,000 tons, Ros Agro Plc (AGRO) with about 560,000 tons and Sucres et Denrees SA with more than 300,000 tons, Ivanov said.

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