Russia’s Grain Crop Seen by Union at Up to 79 Million Tons

Russia’s grain crop will be 78 million to 79 million metric tons, including 45 million to 46 million tons of wheat in 2012-13, said Arkady Zlochevsky, president of the country’s Grain Union.

The government expects the grain crop to be 75 million to 80 million tons, including 45 million tons of wheat, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov said yesterday. That compares with 94 million tons of grains, including 56.2 million tons of wheat last year, according to the state statistics service. When the country had a drought two years ago the crop was 60.9 million tons, including 41.5 million tons of wheat, the statistics data show.

The union figures include grains which farmers will “hide” as they did in the 2010 drought to get cash compensation from the state, Zlochevsky said today, adding he expects the official figures to be below the union’s estimate. There has been speculation that dry weather will curb crops in the country this year.

Russia was the world’s third biggest wheat exporter last season after it shipped 21.3 million tons of the cereal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated. This year, as the country’s crop is seen falling because of drought, wheat shipments may decline to 11 million tons, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service in Moscow.

Total grain exports are expected to be at least 10 million to 12 million tons, Zlochevsky said. Russia’s exportable surplus could be 16 million to 17 million tons, at which level domestic needs could still be met, he said.

July Exports

The country exported 2.07 million tons of grains in July, according to Agriculture Ministry data. August exports are expected to be 2.5 million to 2.7 million tons, Zlochevsky estimated. That would be down from 3.3 million tons last year, he said.

Siberia may harvest 12 million tons of grain this year, which is “quite a normal level” despite the drought, Zlochevsky said. The Siberian federal district harvested 14.6 million tons of grains last year, or 15.6 percent of the national crop, according to the state statistics data.

Wheat for December delivery rose 0.7 percent to $9.2025 a bushel at 5:58 p.m. Moscow time. The cereal has advanced 41 percent this year.

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