Wheat production in Ukraine, a major exporter of the cereal, could drop by one third next year to 17.2 million tonnes after drought cut sharply the crop area, French consultancy Agritel said on Monday.
Other forecasters also anticipate a steep fall in Ukrainian wheat output after the early autumn drought prevented farmers from sowing some fields and left drilled wheat in poor shape.
In its first projection for the 2016 Ukrainian wheat crop, Agritel estimated the harvested area would decline to 4.65 million hectares, from 6.75 million this year.
“This year the question of the acreage is a key issue for Ukraine,” Agritel said in a report. “The 2016 wheat production will come from the lowest acreage of the last 10 years.”
The consultancy projected the average yield at 3.7 tonnes per hectare, down from 3.85 tonnes in this year’s harvest.
Its 17.2 million tonne production forecast was a medium outlook, between a low scenario of 16.4 million and a high scenario of 18.1 million tonnes, it said.
Agritel’s estimates were based on a field trip at the end of November as part of its recently launched “European Agritel Tour” that will also cover Romania and Germany, two of the European Union’s biggest wheat exporters.
Ukrainian wheat crops benefited from the return of rain as well as warm conditions from late November, but persistently mild weather could pose a risk if there is a winter freeze in the absence of snow cover, crop experts say.
(Source – http://www.producer.com/daily/ukraine-wheat-crop-could-drop-to-17-2-million-tonnes/)