The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com:
Wintry Weather Closes Door on Planting in Ukraine and Russia
A snow storm hit Ukraine and southern Russia on the weekend halting winter grain planting and confirming ideas of a sharply reduced winter grain harvest in 2013-14. Winter wheat is the main crop in jeopardy, but rapeseed production would also shrink from exceptional adverse weather.
The Ukraine Agriculture Minister October 1 predicted the winter grain area may shrink by a whopping 20% this season. Very severe planting delays have resulted from exceptional cold in September, capped off by a weekend snow storm in eastern Ukraine. Temperatures last week averaged 7-9 C below normal, mostly below freezing, retarding growth and development in winter grains. Not only would the grain harvest be reduced by a a sharp reduction in plantings, but also incomplete germination and smaller plants brought on by the cold.
Russia Wetness Hindered Planting
Russia producers are facing similar obstacles getting winter grains planted. Relentless September showers kept farmers sidelined in the Black Earth, central Volga and Southern districts where 150-200% of normal rainfall occurred. Russia's Ministry of Agriculture last week claimed the winter grain seeding progress this year was the slowest in 13 years. Extremely wet seed beds are detrimental for proper wheat establishment.
The reason for persistent bad weather is a stalled trough of low pressure in European Russia. The jet stream has built up a warm, stable ridge of high pressure over northern Europe causing unseasonable warmth and dryness.
Questions on Siberia Wheat
Wintry cold and snow weather has reached Siberia also, not terribly unusual in early October. Slow maturing wheat not yet harvested may have been damaged. Siberia spring wheat accounts for 20-22% of Russia's overall production. Spring wheat potential this season was said to be excellent from very generous growing season rainfall and cool summer temperatures. However, late summer warmth was needed to bring wheat to safe maturity and preserve crop quality. Wheat development had been retarded by planting delays in spring and cool summer growing conditions. No doubt, the harvest was not yet finished when snow developed last week. No firm estimates are available on how much wheat was standing in the field or lying in the swath to dry.