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Ukraine May Plant as Much as 5 Million Hectares With Corn

Ukraine may plant 4.5 million hectares (11.1 million acres) to 5 million hectares of corn this year after an autumn drought and winter frosts ruined almost half of winter grains, said Leonid Sukhomlyn, head of the grain department at the Agriculture Ministry.

That compares with 3.6 million hectares planted with corn last year, Sukhomlyn told reporters in Kiev today. Farmers will probably double plantings of spring barley and spring wheat in comparison with last year, he said.

Winter grains will be harvested from between 5.5 million hectares and 6 million hectares, compared with 7.1 million hectares of winter grains sprouted before winter frosts, he said.

The ministry expects 3.5 million hectares of winter grains, mostly wheat, to be reseeded with crops that can be planted in the spring. Winter grains were damaged by the worst autumn drought in at least 50 years, which lasted more than three months and weakened plants before freezing temperatures in winter.

Winter wheat for the 2012 harvest will be harvested from 4.5 million to 5 million hectares and winter barley from 800,000 hectares to 1 million hectares, Sukhomlyn said today.

Ukraine may also plant 4.5 million hectares with sunflowers, almost on par with last year, Sukhomlyn said. The former Soviet state planted 4.4 million hectares last year, according to the state statistics committee.

The country’s sunflower oil output will climb by almost 18 percent to a record 3.7 million metric tons in the marketing year that started Sept. 1 compared with a year earlier, researcher UkrAgroConsult said Feb. 21.

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