Russia Grain Harvest Seen With Potential to Exceed Record

Russia’s harvest of grains and pulses this year has the potential to be the biggest since the break-up of the Soviet Union, according to Grain Union President Arkady Zlochevsky.

The union currently estimates the 2014 harvest at 104 million metric tons, and the figure may rise to exceed the 108.2 million tons reaped in 2008 with favorable weather in the fall, Zlochevsky told a news conference in Moscow today. That harvest was the biggest since the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991, according to Russia’s statistics service.

A higher crop would boost Russia’s exports, which will be at least 30 million tons in the season started July 1, a record, according to Zlochevsky.

The “chances are high for a second-largest harvest” since the Soviet Union’s collapse, Zlochevsky said. “And maybe, we will break the record.” The second-largest post-Soviet harvest was 106.9 million tons in 1992.

Siberian farmers, who harvest most of their wheat crop in September, may exceed expectations if the region escapes a cold snap next month, Rudolf Bulavin, director of the grain union’s research department, said today by phone from Moscow. Corn harvesting in southern regions also peaks in September, and more rain then may repair some of the damage done to the crop by dryness in July and the beginning of this month, he said.

The union’s total estimate for this year includes 59.5 million tons of wheat, 20 million tons of barley and 12 million tons of corn, Bulavin said. The union includes in its estimate the harvest in Crimea, the Black Sea region annexed by Russia from Ukraine in March.

The estimate for exports includes 23 million tons of wheat, 4 million tons of corn and 3 million tons of barley, he said. Russia is historically among the five biggest wheat exporters and in 2013-14 ranked fourth after the U.S., Canada and France, according to data from the International Grains Council and Eurostat.

Russia harvested 92.4 million tons of grain and pulses last year.

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