Russian Grain Harvest Climbs 76% as Reaping Expands to Center

The grain harvest in Russia, projected to be among the world’s five largest wheat exporters this season, jumped 76 percent as reaping began in central regions, according to government figures.

Farmers gathered 9.7 million metric tons of cereals as of today, compared with 5.5 million tons a year earlier, the Moscow-based Agriculture Ministry said on its website. They harvested 7.7 million tons of wheat, against 4.7 million tons last year, from 8.9 percent of the planted area.

Reaping expanded from southern regions, where crops mature first, to Kursk in central Russia, the ministry said. Farmers are poised to bring in a bigger crop this year after weather was more favorable than in the summer of 2012, when drought wiped out about a quarter of the harvest.

The average yield was 3.56 tons a hectare (2.47 acres), against 2.83 tons in 2012, the ministry’s figures showed.

The government has set a 95 million-ton target for this year’s harvest, up from 70.9 million tons in 2012, putting Russia on course to boost grain exports in the 2013-14 season begun July 1.

Russia will ship 17 million tons of wheat in 2013-14, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates, tying with Australia and ranking behind the U.S., Canada and the European Union. That would exceed the prior period’s 11 million tons, according to the USDA.

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