Russian Wheat Crop Seen Smaller Than Estimated on Sowing Delay

The wheat crop in Russia, set to be the world’s third-largest exporter of the grain, will be smaller than projected in the coming season after planting was delayed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

The harvest will come to 53 million metric tons for the 2013-14 crop year starting July 1, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service said in a report, below its prior 56 million-ton estimate. Spring wheat was planted on 8.5 million hectares (21 million acres) as of May 27, 3.2 million hectares less than a year earlier and 65.7 percent of the planned area for 2013, it said, citing Agriculture Ministry figures.

“Wet and cold weather in the Urals and Siberia has significantly slowed down spring grain sowing in these districts and this may impact production,” the FAS said. Still, that’s “unlikely to have a significant impact on exports” because the districts supply little grain for shipping, it said.

The Urals and Siberia account for 17.5 percent of the current season’s national crop, government statistics show.

The country’s total grain harvest will climb 28 percent to 91 million tons in 2013-14, the FAS said, citing the “good condition” of winter crops and “very rapid” corn planting in European Russia. Soil moisture is sufficient in most of the Volga and Urals areas and Siberia, it said.

The coming season’s crop also will include 17 million tons of barley, up from 14 million tons in 2012-13, according to the report. Corn production will increase to 9 million tons from 8.2 million tons, it showed.

Russia will export 18 million tons of wheat in 2013-14, ranking behind the U.S. and Canada among shippers, according to USDA estimates. Wheat for delivery in July fell 0.1 percent to $7.005 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade by 12:04 p.m. Moscow time.

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