Ukraine Heat May Damage Spring-Grains Crop, Center Says

Ukraine’s high temperatures and lack of soil moisture may damage spring grains, according to the national weather center.

“Drought is observed in the Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Odessa, Mykolayiv regions in the south and in the Crimean peninsula,” Tetiana Adamenko, head of the agro-meteorology department at the center, said today in a phone interview from Kiev, the capital. “Rains will probably be sporadic.”

By April 30, drought was affecting both surface and deeper layers of the soil, Adamenko said. Air temperatures in Ukraine reached 31 degree Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit) in the first week of May, according to the center.

Ukraine lost 20 percent of its winter grains for the 2012 harvest after the worst autumn drought in at least 50 years weakened plants. The grain harvest this year will fall to 46.8 million metric tons, agriculture researcher UkrAgroConsult said last month. That compares with 56.7 million tons in 2011, according to the state statistics office.

Farmers planted 7.49 million hectares (18.5 million acres) with spring grains as of today, the agriculture ministry said in an e-mailed statement. Corn plantings made up 3.54 million hectares of the total, the ministry said, without providing prior comparisons.

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