In this morning's World Supply & Demand Report, USDA lowered its projection for the 2012-13 Russian wheat crop by 4 million metric tons (MMT) to 39.0 MMT -- 9% lower than last month and 31% below a year-ago. the drop is a result of lower harvested area and a 21% reduction in yield over year-ago.
The harvest of winter wheat was essentially complete by the end of August, with yield down 30% from last year, according to harvest reports from the Ministry of Agriculture. As of August 28, yields were down by 23% from last year in the Southern District (the country’s top winter-wheat region), down 41% in the North Caucasus District, and down 36% in the Volga District. Only in the Central District was the reported yield higher than last year, but by only 3%, says USDA.
"The spring-wheat harvest is in progress in the Volga, Ural, and Siberian Districts, with early yields down significantly from last year," says USDA. "The poor harvest is attributed to excessive and persistent heat and dryness in almost every major wheat-production region."
USDA says the 2012 drought has been more destructive than the drought of 2010. "Although the heat and dryness were more severe in the areas where the 2010 drought prevailed (chiefly the Central, Volga, and Ural Districts), the 2012 drought has been more widespread and has sharply reduced yields in the Southern, North Caucasus, Volga, Ural, and Siberian Districts. Estimated wheat production for 2012/13 is 6 percent below the reported 2010-11 harvest of 41.5 MMT," says USDA.
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