A prolonged autumn supported the condition of Ukraine grain
and rapeseed crops heading into the country's harsh winter, besides helping
growers to catch up on sowings more significantly than initially thought.
Ukraine's winter grains "have emerged almost on all the
planted area", UkrAgroConsult, the Kiev-based consultancy said, estimating that
only 6,000 hectares of crop has yet to appear, down from 328,000 hectares a
The extent of crop's progress comes despite a rain-hampered
start to the sowing season, which prompted the country's farm ministry to
forecast in early October that some 1.5m hectares of area earmarked for winter grains
would go unplanted, leaving sowings at 6.2m-6.3m hectares.
Farmers play catch-up
In fact, a turn drier in the weather, and a late finish to
autumn, has allowed growers to catch up on sowings, with UkrAgroConsult on Monday
pegging the country's winter grains area at 7.82m hectares.
Ukraine winter grain plantings and (change on last year)
Wheat: 6.366m hectares, (-290,000 hectares)
Barley: 1.248m hectares, (+154,000 hectares)
Rye: 205,000 hectares, (-101,000 hectares)
Total winter grains: 7.819m hectares, (-237,000 hectares)
The group last month pegged area at 7.73m hectares.
And it has helped crops planted even well after the usual
ideal sowings window to establish, helped also by abundant moisture left over
from the early-autumn rains.
The area of grain sowings which have yet to emerge has
slumped to 6,000 hectares, down from 328,000 hectares a year ago.
'Winter crops have
"Winter crops seeded after the recommended time have
strengthened owing to 2-3 weeks longer autumn vegetation than usually," UkrAgroConsult
"In most of the fields, the sprouts are even, and their
density is close to optimal due to sufficient moisture supply in autumn."
The group estimated the proportion of Ukraine grains in good
or satisfactory condition at 91.7%, the highest in at least five years as of
For autumn-sown rapeseed too, crop condition is at the best
since at least 2009, with only some 5% deemed in "poor" health, compared with more
than 30% two years ago.
"Winter rape plants on 63.4% of area were well-developed
when entering the winter. They have 6-8 leaves per plant and an 8mm-10mm thick
root neck," UkrAgroConsult said.
'Less reluctant to
However, while farmers have gained in crop condition, they
are losing out on prices, with Tuesday's $15bn gas and loans deal with Russia seen
as boosting sales by reducing the risk of devaluation.
Ukraine farmers have, like their peers in Argentina, hoarded
crops, whose price is linked to the dollar, as a hedge against depreciation in
the domestic currency.
"In Ukraine, the risk of devaluation is fading away, given
the agreement with Russia," consultancy Agritel said.
"Farmers should now be less reluctant to sell their harvest,"
a dynamic reflected in a drop of nearly $5 a tonne in corn on an ex-farm basis.
"This price pressure could increase in the coming weeks, as
the volume of transactions will be low at this time of Christmas season,"
"Indeed, traders secured sufficient volumes for exports in
the short term."