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Ukraine Winter Grain Condition Seen Fairly Good by USDA

Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Winter-grain conditions in Ukraine are “fairly good” this year after most areas received beneficial rain in October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service said.

Dry weather in September and early October allowed for “rapid” planting of the 2013-14 winter-grain crop, though the dryness hampered emergence and crop establishment in some regions, the FAS wrote in an online report dated Nov. 15.

Southeastern Ukraine remained dry in the past two months and started to improve by early November, according to the FAS. Crimea remains unfavorably dry, the service wrote. Drought at the end of 2011 destroyed about 30 percent of winter grains in the 2012-13 season, according to the unit.

“Despite the localized dryness in the southeast, overall conditions for Ukraine’s winter grains are fairly good, and certainly much better than at this time last year,” the USDA service wrote.

Farmers in Ukraine had planted 6.6 million hectares (16.3 million acres) of winter wheat as of Nov. 6, compared with 6.5 million hectares a year earlier, the FAS wrote, citing data from Ukraine’s agriculture ministry. Winter wheat accounts for 95 percent of Ukraine’s production of the grain, it said.

Winter barley was sown on 1.07 million hectares, with planting about 90 percent completed, according to the report. At the same time last year, 1.04 million hectares had been planted of a final sown area of 1.37 million hectares, the FAS wrote. Winter barley typically accounts for about 25 percent of Ukraine’s barley area, the unit said.

Planting of winter rapeseed was completed by the end of September, and the area has been reported as 8.94 million hectares, down from 9.36 million hectares, according to the report. Winter rapeseed accounts for 90 percent of total output.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Deane at jdeane3@bloomberg.net

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