Ukraine Wintry Weather Closes Grain-Sowing Window, Martell Says

A snowstorm that hit Ukraine and southern Russia over the weekend halted crop planting, adding to the possibility of a “sharply” reduced winter-grain harvest in 2013-14, Martell Crop Projections said.

“Winter wheat is the main crop in jeopardy, but rapeseed production would also shrink from exceptionally adverse weather,” Gail Martell, who heads the Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin-based forecaster, wrote in an e-mailed report today.

Temperatures in Ukraine last week were 7 to 9 degrees Celsius (12.6-16.2 degrees Fahrenheit) below normal and mostly below freezing, delaying winter-grain development. The harvest could be reduced by a drop in planting as well as incomplete sprouting and smaller plants due to the cold, Martell wrote.

Russian producers are facing obstacles getting winter grains planted after September showers in the Black Earth, central Volga and Southern districts brought rainfall that was 150 percent to double normal, according to Martell.

“Extremely wet seed beds are detrimental for proper wheat establishment,” Martell said.

In Siberia, wheat development was behind after spring planting delays and cool summer growing conditions, and harvesting of the crop was not yet finished when snow fell last week, according to the forecaster.

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