Russian Minister Cuts Wheat Crop Estimate to 40 Million Tons

Russia, last season’s third biggest wheat exporter, cut its wheat crop estimate by as much as 4.8 percent to 40 million metric tons and its barley forecast by 40 percent to 14.1 million tons due to drought.

That compares with a wheat crop estimate of as much as 42 million tons on Aug. 31. It was 41.5 million tons in 2010, when drought damaged crops across the country, prompting a grain export ban for more than 10 months.

“The current year’s harvest forecast lets us secure the needs of the domestic market in full,” Deputy Agriculture Minister Ilya Shestakov said, speaking at the 18th Black Sea Grain and Oilseeds conference in Moscow today. The country will also be able to meet its export potential, he said.

The grain crop is seen at 70 million to 75 million tons, he said, maintaining the the ministry’s most recent forecast. Total grain resources for the year are seen at 90 million to 95 million tons when carry-over stocks are taken into account.

Russia harvested 56.5 million tons of grain by Sept. 5, down from 66 million tons a year earlier, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov told reporters in Moscow today. The wheat crop has reached 33.6 million tons, compared with 41 million tons in 2011, he said.

Grain exports reached 5.3 million tons from the season’s start on July 1 through Sept. 5, and were 19 percent lower than a year earlier, Shestakov said.

The government will have more accurate harvest figures later this month, he said. Russia may start grain sales from stockpiles in certain regions to reduce local prices if necessary before December.

“There are no fundamental factors for a repeat of a global food crisis now,” he said, adding that a Group of 20 nations agriculture forum will be held in October.

Milling wheat prices have jumped 34 percent on NYSE Liffe in Paris this year following dry weather in Russia and eastern Europe.

Surging food prices triggered more than 60 riots worldwide from 2007 to 2009.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marina Sysoyeva in Moscow at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at

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