12 Dec 2017 17:46

Russian grain harvest could top 100 mln tonnes in 2018 - industry experts

MOSCOW. Dec 12 (Interfax) - Russian grain market experts have cautiously begun making forecasts for next year's grain harvest and based on the current condition of the winter wheat crop and hopes for good weather, estimate the harvest at over 100 million tonnes.

"If weather conditions are favorable, there is a chance for a grain harvest of 119 million-124 million tonnes," Rusagrotrans chief Igor Pavensky told Interfax.

About 16.9 million hectares have been sown with winter wheat, which is just a little below the record 17.1 million hectares in 2017.

"There are no grounds for a poor scenario next year," ProZerno LLC head Vladimir Petrichenko said. "All is in order with the winter crop. A harvest of over 100 million tonnes can be expected," he said, adding that more exact forecasts will be made later.

"The harvest next year looks to be lower than this year, judging from the state of the winter crop," Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR) General Director Dmitry Rylko said.

The winter crop is in better shape than in a number of previous years, but worse than in the record harvest year of 2017. "For example, in Volgograd region, almost 30% of the sown area is in the primary growth stage due to late sowing," he said. "There were also problems in Stavropol territory, but the situation has now straightened out."

The winter crop is in better condition than last year in Rostov region and on a par with last year in Krasnodar territory, Rylko said.

The fact less fertilizer is being bought could have a negative impact on the harvest next year. "Everyone is saying: there is less fertilizer, because agricultural producers have less money for it this year," he said.

The Hydrometeorological Center of Russia forecasts that weather in the majority of the country's grain producing regions in the second half of December will on the whole be satisfactory from the standpoint of winter grain crops.

Russia harvested 130 million tonnes of grain (net weight) in 2017, up from 120.7 million tonnes in 2016.