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Black Sea holds 'high' potential for wheat exports in 2020-21

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Russia and Ukraine will likely have a “high” wheat export potential in 2020-21, S&P Global Platts said, although it noted too the potential for drop setbacks from dry weather during the early growing season.

 

Russia, the world’s top wheat exporter, looks on track to raise its 2020 wheat production to 79.3m tonnes, a result which would be the country’s second best ever, said Victoria Sinitsyna, senior grain analyst at Platts.

 

She cited the prospect of a further switch by growers to winter wheat spurred by a “changing climate” which in meaning milder winters had encouraged adoption of this higher-yielding type, in favour of the spring wheat which took the majority of sowings a decade ago.

 

‘Good size crop’

For Ukraine, for which nearly all wheat is of winter varieties, area seeded with the grain for the 2020 harvest “will decrease”, a reflection of the increasing popularity of corn among farmers.

 

Nonetheless, with “good enough yields” expected, the harvest was seen coming in at a historically strong 26.9m tonnes.

 

The region “will still harvest a good size wheat crop,” Ms Sinitsyna told Global Grain Geneva.

 

This will “retain Black Sea wheat export potential very high” in 2020-21.

 

‘Winterkill risks high’

However, she acknowledged that the forecasts assumed benign weather, which had not been a feature of late, when it had been “really dry across Ukraine and south western Russia”.

 

This had resulted in “low” soil moisture levels which had curtailed crop development, and left it vulnerable should winter prove harsh.

 

“Winterkill risks are high,” she said, adding that even if crops survived the winter well, improved soil moisture levels would be needed in spring for crops to fulfil their potential.

 

For the short-term, "dry and warm conditions through the next 10 days will increase [crop] stress, as the warmth prevents wheat from fully entering dormancy, according to weather service Maxar.

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