Cropping

Growing Russia’s wheat crop

Henry Wells, January 11, 2017

Russia had an exceptional growing season in 2016, harvesting a record 73.3 million tonnes (Mt) wheat, compared to 59Mt the previous year.

This year’s larger Russian wheat crop will have to compete for export markets with other northern hemisphere export countries, which also grew large crops, and with record or near-record cereal harvests in several Australian states.

In December the USDA predicted world wheat production for 2016-17 at 751 Mt, as reported by AEGIC, and ending stocks at 252Mt.  That would be a third consecutive record production.

AEGIC called on growers to heed warnings of possible consequences of sellers competing to attract buyers in global wheat markets.

Russia’s wheat export program was subject to swinging fortunes late in 2016, primarily affected by Egypt’s temporary imposition of zero ergot tolerance.

The Russian government’s removal of a small export tax previously applied to wheat (though small) also had an impact on forward sales confidence.

These factors eventually improved traders’ success in placing Russian wheat into Egyptian tenders towards the end of 2016, along with Ukraine and Romanian wheat, to the exclusion of some previous suppliers such as USA and Argentina.

In spite of plenty of advancement in agribusiness in Russia, the Ministry of Agriculture long-term aspirations for Russian wheat exports were unlikely to reach their 50Mt target by 2020, according to Mike Lee, Green Square Agro Consulting Agronomy Ukraine blogsite, in which he warns of the vagaries of drought, affecting agricultural yields, such as occurred in 2012.

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