Russia: share of wheat in poor condition has fallen unprecedentedly

Share of Russia’s grain crops in poor condition has fallen to 7-9% since November when it was at 22%, a record high level for a decade.

Last week, Russian state agency RosHydroMet (RHM) released crop conditions numbers as of the end of February. Share of grain crops (that’s mainly wheat) in poor conditions has fallen to 7-9% since November when it was at 22%, a record high level for a decade. Favorable winter weather helped plants to recover.

We feel that RHM numbers could be too optimistic and probably don’t reflect ice-crust issues farmers have been experiencing in recent weeks. Interestingly, historically correlation between November’s poor crop share and winter kill is better than the correlation between February’s numbers and winter-kill.

Also, we haven’t seen such dramatic improvements in the past. 

Having said all that, we feel that our winter-kill of around 16% starts to look too pessimistic. We are likely to revise it down by a few p.p., implying a bigger wheat crop by several mln tonnes. We are issuing our crop update this week after finishing the analysis of all data, maps and farmers’ survey.

Our most recent estimate of 2021 Russia’s wheat crop is 76.2 MMT compared to 85.9 MMT (85.3 MMT ex. Crimea) in 2020.

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