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Kazakh Grain Crop Plunges 47% as Drought Affects Growing Areas

The grain crop in Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s biggest wheat producer, shrank by 47 percent this season as a drought persisted in main growing regions in summer, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

Millers produced 14.3 million metric tons of grain as of today after harvesting on 99 percent of the seeded area, the ministry said in a statement distributed in the capital city of Astana. Kazakhstan reaped a record 26.9 million tons of grain in 2011, according to government figures.

Plantings were lost on more than 1 million hectares (2.47 million acres) of the 16.2 million hectares sown with grains, according to the statement. The main cultivation areas of Akmola and Kostanai accounted for 90 percent of the losses, along with the Aktobe region and West Kazakhstan.

Average yields fell to 940 kilograms (2,072 pounds) a hectare from 1,530 kilograms in 2011, the ministry said.

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