Russia is likely to experience a significant reduction in crop production next season, with an estimated wheat yield of 85.3 million metric tons (MMT), SovEcon’s latest report indicates. The expected crop will be 18.9 MMT lower than last year, but still close to the average for the last five years.
The year-on-year (YoY) decrease in the harvest estimate is due to the reduction in acreage. The center estimates the acreage at 29.3 million ha compared to 29.5 million ha a year earlier. Another contributing factor is the expectation of generally average weather conditions, unlike the extremely favorable conditions experienced last season.
The crop estimate has remained unchanged from the February forecast. At the moment, the weather for the new crop is mostly favorable, with forecasters predicting temperatures 2-5 °C above normal until the end of March. Although there have been temperature fluctuations in the last months of winter, there is no ice crust on the fields as a whole.
Most regions have an average supply of moisture for their plants. The moisture supply of crops in the South has significantly improved in recent weeks due to heavy precipitation in the second half of February.
The winter wheat has been negatively impacted by January frosts, when the minimum temperatures in the main regions of production dropped to -20-25 °C. The state weather forecaster Hydrometcentre estimates the share of winter crops in poor condition at 5-6%, which is slightly higher than the average of 4.5%.
Despite the anticipated significant YoY reduction in crop, there are record carry-over stocks which mean that next season’s wheat supply will only be marginally lower than the current season’s.
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