Ukraine 2015 grain harvest estimated to be significantly down

Experts in the Ukraine are predicting that its 2015 grain harvest may be in the region of 50.5m tonnes, significantly down on recent years.

“This year we do not expect the average yield index for grains to be at the level of the last year and the year before last. Worse wintering conditions, a significant shortage of funds, the uncertainty of weather conditions, as well as future economic and political situation do not allow us to predict an optimistic scenario,” said UCAB expert on agricultural markets Igor Ostapchuk says.

According to the Agrobarometer 2.0 Research Study, about 39% of agrarians are deficient in mineral fertilisers, in particular due to their high cost, and another 20% are willing to reduce or abandon the use of plant protection products.

“In this case it is necessary to predict the average yield at around 3.8 t/ha”, – UCAB expert on agricultural markets Igor Ostapchuk says.

Under such circumstances, Ukrainian agrarians are about to gather around 50.5m tonnes of main grains: 20.6 million tonnes of wheat, 6.4m tonnes of barley and 23.4m tonnes of maize. However, it should be noted that this is only the first forecast, which is going to undergo further changes during the field work, formation and ripening of grains.

The experts of the Association Ukrainian Agribusiness Club (UCAB) conducted a preliminary analysis of the grain industry of Ukraine at the beginning of the tillage sowing season. At the same time, the area under spring grains might be reduced by 9%, and the yield might amount to 50.5m tonnes.

UCAB experts have estimated the total cost of the optimal complex for sowing grains this spring at UAH 64,7-67,4 billion, 54% of this sum is intended for sowing spring grains. Due to the devaluation and the lack of sufficient credit resources agrarians are experiencing a significant shortage of funds.

Small and medium-sized producers face the biggest problems as they have sold the major part of the yield at the beginning of the season and have not taken care about the preservation of the value of revenues (currency transactions, purchase of inputs). Export-oriented producers are in the best position, since the devaluation gave them additional benefits and helped to increase revenue in UAH equivalent.

The current area under the main spring grains (wheat, barley and maize) is going to be at the level of 6.2m hectares, 68% is going to be put under maize, 29% under barley and 3% under wheat.

There is going to be a reduction in cultivated areas compared with the last year; in particular the area under maize will be reduced the most – by 5-10%. The main grains in general (winter and spring) will occupy the area of 13.7m hectares, that is 2.4% less than last year. At the same time, agrarians will focus on the increase of areas under oilseed crops, such as soy, as it has proved to be very profitable.

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