28 Aug 2023 16:35

Some 14% of Ukrainian farmers not planning to sow winter crops for 2024 harvest - Agrarian Policy Ministry's poll

MOSCOW. Aug 28 (Interfax) - About 45% of Ukrainian farmers do not plan to substantially reduce areas under winter crops, 38% might increase them, and 14% are not going to sow winter crops this year, as seen from the findings of a poll conducted by the Ukrainian Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry to monitor farmers' plans for sowing winter crops for harvest in 2024.

"This ratio basically corresponds with the agrarian practices in Ukraine, where up to 20% farmers do not sow winter crops annually," it said.

The structure of winter crops might be changed, as farmers are likely to reduce the share of wheat and barley and increase land under winter rapeseed, it said.

In total, the area under winter crops could increase by 0.5 million hectares, or by 8%, compared to the past season, the poll found.

The area under rapeseed might increase by as much as 40% to reach a record 1.9 million hectares, the ministry said.

"We've seen the share of oilseeds, namely soybeans, sunflower, and rapeseed, grow this year chiefly due to expensive logistics. We also observe this trend in the farmers' plans for the next season," First Deputy Agrarian Policy and Food Minister Taras Vysotsky said.

A shortage of financing and the agrarian sector's low liquidity remain key challenges in sowing winter crops for harvest in 2024, the ministry said.

More than one-third of the respondents named market uncertainty among the key sowing campaign problems, while a quarter of those polled also mentioned lower economic motivation negatively affecting their expectations from a future harvest of winter crops.

Farmers also described the use of fertilizers and pesticides as one of the most sensitive issues. Most of big and medium-sized producers said they would use them in full. Fertilizer application is expected to be 47% and application of plant protection chemicals 56% of the agronomic requirement. Only 10% of the respondents said they plan to use 100% of the required amount of fertilizers and 18% of the required plant protection chemicals.

Big and medium-sized producers also praised the level at which they are provided with fuel and seeds. The average level of provision with fuel is currently estimated at 53% and with seeds at 60%, the ministry said.

The Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry surveyed 2,403 respondents on August 7-14, 2023, and 2,070 of them (86%) presented detailed information on their plans regarding the sowing of winter crops for a 2024 harvest.