Russia Raises Grain Crop Forecast to More Than 100 Million Tons

Russia, set to become the fourth-biggest wheat exporter, may harvest more than 100 million metric tons of grains for the first time since 2008.

The country’s grain crop may exceed 100 million tons, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov said today on a conference call, without providing a number. President Vladimir Putin said June 18 that the harvest may reach 97 million tons.

The Ministry’s forecast for a higher crop means prices for Russian wheat exports will probably fall, said Dmitry Rylko, director at Moscow-based market researcher the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies, known as Ikar. Wheat futures tumbled 11 percent this year in Chicago as a second straight bumper global harvest is set to boost global inventories.

Russian grain yields were 3.55 tons a hectare (2.47 acres) as of yesterday, 0.5 tons more than a year earlier, Fedorov said, according to comments posted on the ministry’s website. Farmers threshed 20.1 million tons of grain in bunker weight, or measured before drying and cleaning, he said.

The ministry is more optimistic than analysts, who are concerned that dryness is developing in Siberia. While Ikar plans to raise its forecast from 96 million tons in the coming days, Russia’s crop won’t exceed 100 million tons, Rylko said, citing lack of rain in the corn fields and dry weather in some parts of Siberia.

Stands by Forecast

Moscow-based researcher SovEcon stands by its forecast of 94 million tons released on July 14, said Managing Director Andrey Sizov. Dryness in Siberia is a concern, and the gap with last year’s yields is smaller if they are compared based on harvested acreage, rather than by date, he said.

Russia is set to become the world’s fourth-biggest wheat exporter in the marketing year that started July 1, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show. The country harvested 92.4 million tons of grain and pulses last year and 108.2 million tons in 2008, according to Russia’s statistics service.

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