Russia is set to harvest the most wheat in eight years after the warmest winter on record protected crops and as planting conditions remain favorable for spring grains.
The world’s biggest wheat exporter will collect 62.5 million metric tons of wheat in 2016, the Moscow-based Institute for Agriculture Market Studies said on Monday. French farm adviser Agritel SA pegged the amount at 62.3 million tons. Last year’s harvest totaled 61.8 million tons, Federal Statistics Service data show.
The mild winter meant crops avoided significant damage from cold, while Agritel said spring seeding will take place with moisture levels better than last year. A bigger crop would follow bumper harvests that sent benchmark prices in Chicago to near the lowest since 2010. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is among those predicting Russia will ship out a record amount this year.
“Crop conditions currently are good, especially in the southern district,” Olivier Bouillet, the manager of Agritel’s Kiev office, said by phone. “The acreage of winter wheat was slightly higher, and usually the yields are better with winter crops than with the spring ones.”
Farmers will reap winter grain from 13.6 million hectares (34 million acres) this year, up from 13.3 million hectares in 2015, according to Ikar, as the researcher is known. The spring variety will be sown on 13.2 million hectares, down from 13.5 million hectares. Winter wheat is usually collected starting late June and spring wheat is harvested from August.
Russian wheat for export from Black Sea ports rose to $185 a ton on Friday, the highest since December, Ikar data show. Prices have climbed 3.9 percent from a five-year low set in February and March.
The bigger Russian harvest may compensate for decline in Ukraine and Romania. Here are estimates on production and exports from those countries and Bulgaria:
- Dry weather has cut autumn sowing, leaving planting area at the lowest in a decade.
- Output may drop 20 percent to 19.8 million tons, according to UkrAgroConsult.
- Exports will total 9.8 million tons in the 2016-17 season, down a third from the prior year’s record.
- Heavy rains have hindered autumn planting, with acreage also at a decade-low.
- Production may fall about 9 percent to 7.2 million tons, UkrAgroConsult estimates.
- Exports to climb to 3.9 million tons from 3.75 million tons in the current marketing season ending in June, due to lower shipments from Ukraine and more demand from drought-hit African nations.
- Wheat sowing rose 8.7 percent to 1.1 million hectares in autumn, according to the Food and Agriculture Ministry in Sofia.
- Country expects a similar size crop to the 5 million tons collected last year.
- Outbound shipments may reach 3.4 million tons this season and stay roughly the same in the next, it said.