Kazakhstan’s weather is likely to improve as farmers seek to bring in the grain harvest earlier than usual, Agriculture Minister Asylzhan Mamytbekov said.
“We’ll finish before the end of September, weather permitting,” Mamytbekov told reporters today in the capital, Astana. The current periodic rainfalls are “not so favorable” for harvesting the crop, he said.
The forecast is “not so bad,” with “normal, average” autumn weather predicted, Mamytbekov said. September is expected to be warm and arid with some rains possibly in the northern and mountainous regions, Kazhydromet, the national weather service, said on its website.
Kazakhstan, the biggest wheat producer in Central Asia, has harvested from 8.5 million hectares (21 million acres), or 55.1 percent of the area planted with grains, so far this season, according to a statement published on the Agriculture Ministry’s website. That compares with 22.7 percent of the area harvested at the same time in 2011. Farmers started reaping in July this year, earlier than usual.
The country has milled 6.4 million metric tons of grain as of today, compared with 5.2 million tons milled in the same period last year, according to ministry data.
The yield has dropped by almost half this year, to 750 kilograms per hectare (1,650 pounds) from 1,410 kilograms per hectare last year, as dry weather damaged crops.
“The average yields will grow by the end of the harvest, because there are going to be more productive fields at the end, which weren’t touched as much by the drought,” Mamytbekov said.
The Kostanay region in the north led the declines among Kazakhstan’s main growing regions, with yields falling about 65 percent to 560 kilograms per hectare this year, according to the ministry. Yields dropped about 43 percent in the Akmola region to 610 kilograms a hectare, and about 37 percent in North Kazakhstan region to 1,120 kilograms per hectare this year.
About 3.7 percent of plantings were damaged by drought, Yevgeny Aman, the Agriculture Ministry’s executive secretary, said Aug 28. About 600,000 hectares of the 16.2 million hectares planted will be “written off,” he said.
Kazakhstan may gather about 13 million tons of grain this season, Aman said Aug. 15. The country has about 9 million tons of stock left from last year, he said. Kazakhstan harvested a record 26.9 million tons of grain in 2011, according to government data.
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