Ukrainian Winter Crops Seen by Oil World Facing Frost Threat

Winter wheat and rapeseed crops in Ukraine are vulnerable to frost damage because of recent mild temperatures and lack of protective snow cover, Oil World said.

Southern and eastern regions, Ukraine’s main growing areas for wheat and rapeseed, face “the risk of sizable winter-killing if severe frosts arrive in coming weeks,” the researcher said in an e-mailed report today. The country was the biggest wheat supplier and second-largest rapeseed shipper to the European Union in the 2011-12 season, European Commission data show. Ukraine’s winter crops are sown starting in August, lie dormant in cold-weather months and are harvested in July.

“Even though weather conditions have been favorable for winter wheat and rapeseed so far this season, allowing both crops to develop sufficiently and enhancing their frost-resistant qualities, the current situation needs to be monitored closely,” Hamburg-based Oil World said. “It makes winter crops vulnerable to unfavorable weather events.”

Ukraine’s total grain and flour exports rose to a record 3.1 million metric tons in November, bringing deliveries since July to 11.4 million tons, up 81 percent from a year earlier, when quotas restricted shipments, Oil World said. Speculation that Ukraine would curb wheat exports again after stockpiles dwindled amid dry weather helped milling-wheat futures traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris to jump 27 percent last year.

Ukraine shipped an additional 2.3 million tons of grain in the first 27 days of December, including 1.8 million tons of corn, 300,000 tons of wheat and 100,000 tons of barley, Oil World said.