Rainfall Aids Ukraine Rapeseed Planting, Erodes Russian Soybeans

Rainfall in recent weeks has improved conditions for planting rapeseed in Ukraine, the world’s third-biggest exporter, while eroding soybean crops in far eastern Russia, Oil World said.

Soil moisture levels have improved in Ukraine after rain late last month, while remaining below last year’s level after dry weather in preceding weeks, the Hamburg-based researcher said in an e-mailed report today. Farmers planted about 461,000 hectares (1.14 million acres) of the oilseed as of Sept. 4, compared with 731,000 hectares at the same time last year. Total planting may be 924,000 hectares, down from 1.04 million a year earlier, Oil World said, citing the government.

“Some late-August rains improved soil moisture, allowing farmers to proceed with the planting of winter rapeseed crop to be harvested in 2014,” Oil World said. “The local weather service indicates that the precipitation currently forecast will create optimal conditions for the planting of winter crops in Ukraine.”

Russia’s soybean production may be a three-year low at 1.5 million tons, down from 1.8 million tons last year, Oil World said. Almost 500,000 hectares were lost because of flooding in the far eastern part of the country, the researcher said, citing the Agriculture Ministry. About 231,000 tons of the oilseed were collected as of Sept. 5, double last year’s pace because of larger output in the Central and Southern federal districts.

“Heavy downpours and waterlogging of soils in the far east of Russia have had a devastating impact on agricultural production this year,” Oil World said. Rising output in western Russia will “not offset the soybean crop losses shaping up in the Far East Federal District.”

Oil World left its forecast for Russian sunflower seed production unchanged at 9 million tons, compared with 8 million tons a year earlier while below some private estimates of as much as 11 million tons for this season, according to the report. Sunflower seed crushing may be 8.4 million tons in 2013-14, near a record achieved two years earlier.

Ukrainian farmers harvested 1.3 million tons of sunflower seed as of Sept. 3, Oil World said. The country’s crop may climb to 9.6 million tons from 8.4 million tons a year earlier.

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