Ukraine lost 20 percent of its winter grains after a cold snap killed plants weakened by a drought, and the winter-wheat harvest is set to plunge 44 percent, the national weather center said.
Most of the 5.8 million hectares (14.3 million acres) on which winter grains sprouted were sown with wheat, Tetiana Adamenko, head of the center’s agro-meteorology department, told reporters in Kiev today. Plants were judged to be in good condition on 40 percent of the remaining 4.6 million hectares, satisfactory on 30 percent and poor on 30 percent, she said.
Drought last fall damaged about 33 percent of Ukrainian winter grains, Kiev-based researcher UkrAgroConsult said in January. The country was among nations in eastern Europe affected by a cold snap that month and in February that killed more than 100 people, stranded tens of thousands in their homes and hampered road, rail and sea traffic.
Adamenko predicted yields of 3.1 million to 3.2 million metric tons a hectare for the grains in good condition and 1.5 million to 1.7 million tons for those rated satisfactory.
This year’s winter-wheat crop will drop to about 12.5 million tons from 22.3 million tons, according to Adamenko. The harvest may be as high as 15 million tons under favorable conditions and as low as 10 million tons if no rain falls, she said.
Crop losses for winter barley came to 40 percent of planted areas, leaving 500,000 hectares covered by the grain, according to Adamenko.
Ukraine will probably harvest 42 million to 50 million tons of grain this year, government newspaper Uryadovyi Kurier reported today, citing Agriculture Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk. It predicted exports of 6 million to 10 million tons of wheat, 11.5 million to 12.5 million tons of corn and about 3.7 million tons of barley in the marketing year from July 1.
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