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Ukraine’s 2012 Grain Harvest, Yields to Fall, ProAgro Says

Ukraine’s grain harvest will probably fall 25 percent to 42.6 million metric tons this year as yields of corn, wheat and barley decline after an autumn drought and a cold winter, agriculture researcher ProAgro said.

This compares with a record 56.8 million ton harvest in 2011, the Kiev-based researcher said in an e-mailed statement today. Average grain yields will decline by 0.67 tons per hectare (2.47 acre) to 3 tons per hectare, ProAgro said.

Wheat, which is planted almost entirely in the autumn, will decline the most of all grains, by 35 percent to 14.6 million tons from 22.3 million tons. The corn harvest will fall by 22 percent to 17.7 million tons from record 22.8 million ton crop last year.

The country’s winter grains, mostly wheat and also barley and rapeseed, were planted in the autumn during the worst drought in at least 50 years. Weakened plants are lacking snow cover protection in seven of Ukraine’s 25 regions after temperatures dropped to as low as minus 32.2 degrees Celsius (minus 26 Fahrenheit) today.

The barley harvest is seen falling 11 percent to 8.1 million tons from 9.1 million tons in 2011, ProAgro said.

Winter Grain

The Ukrainian Agriculture Ministry increased its estimation of winter grain areas to be replanted in the spring to between 2.5 million and 3 million hectares, according to the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation, which cited Oleksandr Sen, deputy agriculture minister.

The nation’s grain exports in the marketing year ending June 30 will be 24.47 million tons, almost double the amount the previous marketing year when the country exported 12.29 million tons, the researcher said.

Exports may not exceed 8 million tons of wheat, 3 million tons of barley and 13 million tons of corn, according to ProAgro. The country’s grain carryover stock will almost double last year’s level and reach 11 million tons. Inventories will include 5.4 million tons of wheat, 2 million tons of barley and 3.4 million tons of corn, according to ProAgro estimates.

Sunflower seed production will gain 17.6 percent to 9.5 million tons in 2011, the researcher said. This will help increase sunflower oil production by 13.5 percent to 3.6 million tons and sunflower oil exports by 16.8 percent to 3.1 million tons in the marketing year ending Aug. 31.

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