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Russian Winter Crop Damage May Be Less Than Government Estimate

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Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Russia’s winter grains may have escaped some damage forecast by the government because of warm weather in southern areas last month, the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies, known as Ikar, said.

Damage may cover 1.2 million hectares (about 3 million acres) to 1.3 million hectares, Oleg Sukhanov, Ikar analyst, said by phone from Moscow today. That equals 7.6 percent to 8.2 percent of plantings. The government estimated 9.5 percent of losses from 15.8 million hectares of plantings.

“Plantings are germinating better in the south,” Sukhanov said. Ikar estimated the new grain crop will be 85 million to 92 million metric tons, up from 70.7 million tons harvested this season.

Russia is expected to be the fifth-biggest wheat exporter this season after the U.S., Canada, the European Union and Australia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. Wheat for March delivery dropped 0.3 percent to $7.5925 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade by 5:26 p.m. Moscow time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marina Sysoyeva in Moscow at msysoyeva@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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