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Russia’s Zubkov Says Southern Crops Suffered From Drought

May 16 (Bloomberg) -- Russia’s southern crops were damaged by drought in Krasnodar and some adjacent regions, the country’s traditional breadbasket and main grain exporting area, said Viktor Zubkov, acting first deputy prime minister.

Soil moisture on fields decreased and plantings were weakened after a lack of rain in the area for more than a month, Zubkov said at a meeting in Moscow today, according to a statement on the government’s website.

About 15 million hectares (37 million acres) of winter grains survived out of 16.1 million hectares planted, Zubkov said. The plants are in a “satisfactory” condition.

The Agriculture Ministry’s new crop estimate is for about 94 million metric tons of grains, little changed from last year. The government isn’t expected to lower the target as farmers can replant damaged areas, Zubkov said.

Russia’s Southern Federal district accounted for 24 percent of the country’s total grain crop last year, after harvesting almost 22.7 million tons of grain. Half of that crop was harvested in Krasnodar region, according to state statistics data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marina Sysoyeva in Moscow at msysoyeva@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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