Dry Weather Is Seen Threatening Crops in Former Soviet Nations

Dry weather may persist this week in areas of Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan, threatening growth of winter grains and development of spring crops, MDA Information Systems LLC said.

Central and eastern Ukraine may be dry this week, with rain occurring only in southwestern areas, MDA meteorologist Donald Keeney said today in an e-mailed report. Some areas of Ukraine had less than half the normal amount of rain in the past 45 days. Rain in western Russia this week will favor the Volga Valley while the Central Region and North Caucasus are drier. Kazakhstan will see showers only in far northern areas.

Temperatures in much of the former Soviet Union probably will be above normal in the next two weeks, according to the report. Central and western Ukraine and Russia’s North Caucasus will be mostly dry from May 17 to 23, while other areas of the former Soviet Union receive 10 millimeters (0.4 inches) to 25 millimeters of rain. Conditions in Ukraine and southern and central Russia may be warmer and drier than normal in June while areas of Kazakhstan are cooler and wetter.

Russia ranked as the world’s fifth-largest wheat exporter in the 2012-13 season, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, followed by Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization said yesterday it expects combined production in those countries to jump 40 percent from last year after fields recovered from dry weather and crops escaped damage from cold temperatures this season.

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