Russia’s Southern Winter Grains Yield Falls 20-25% From 2011

Russia’s southern winter grain yields are expected to drop 20 to 25 percent from last year because of dryness earlier in May, said Anna Strashnaya, head of the agriculture forecasts department of Russia’s weather service.

Yields in some areas of the eastern part of the Russian south may be 30 percent lower than last year, Strashnaya said by phone in Moscow today.

Wheat dropped 1.1 percent to $6.4675 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade by 6:42 p.m. Moscow time.

Dry weather until May 25 weakened winter wheat and barley, drying the top of grain ears in the eastern part of the Southern and North-Caucasus federal districts, Strashnaya said. Heavy rains last week only improved the crop condition in the western part of the territories, she said.

The Southern and North-Caucasus federal districts accounted for about 35 percent of Russia’s total grain crops after they harvested about 32.6 million metric tons of cereals last year, according to state statistics data.

The Institute for Agricultural Market Studies, known as Ikar, expects the winter wheat yields to drop as low as 4.4 tons a hectare (2.47 acres) in Krasnodar, 2.2 tons a hectare in Rostov and 2.5 tons a hectare in Stavropol this year, Oleg Sukhanov, head of market analysis for the group, said by phone today.

That compares with last year’s average yields of 5.5 tons a hectare in Krasnodar, 2.9 tons a hectare in Rostov and 3.9 tons a hectare in Stavropol, he said. The three regions were Russia’s top grain-growing areas by crop size last year, according to state statistics.

June’s weather is expected to be normal for grains across Russia, Strashnaya said. In the next 10 days, temperatures will be “slightly above norm” in the south, helping reduce overly wet field conditions in Krasnodar and Stavropol regions, where showers exceeded the soil moisture norm last week, she said. Rains across southern regions will continue through June 2 and are expected to start weakening from June 3.

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