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Russian Grain Exports Seen Reaching at Least 20 Million Tons

Russian grain exports will come to at least 20 million metric tons in the coming marketing year, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov said.

The grains and legumes crop will be about 85 million tons, enough to meet domestic needs for 72.7 million tons of feed and milling grains in the period starting July 1, he told reporters in Moscow today. Farmers will harvest grains over 44.8 million hectares (110.7 million acres), Fedorov said at a government meeting, an e-mailed statement from his ministry showed.

“We don’t see any grounds to frighten anybody with an embargo” on grain shipments, the minister said. Russia barred all cereal exports in August 2010 as a drought seared fields and kept the ban in place until July 1 of last year.

Wheat for September delivery, the contract with the highest open interest, jumped 6.5 percent to $7.32 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade by 6:59 p.m. Moscow time. The grain is up 12 percent this year.

Russian crop losses from winter frosts and a spring drought were average at 2.4 percent of the total sown area, Fedorov said. That compares with last year’s 2 percent rate, he said.

Harvesting began about 10 days earlier than normal because of the drought, according to the ministry statement. Farmers reaped more than 200,000 tons of grains at yields of 2.9 tons a hectare, it showed.

The Volgograd and Rostov regions and the Republic of Kalmykia in the Southern Federal District were among areas worst affected by the drought, according to the minister. He also singled out the Penza and Saratov regions in the Volga Federal District; the Voronezh, Lipetsk and Tula regions in the Central Federal District; and Siberia’s Altai region.

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