MOSCOW, October 9 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s grain and legumes harvest is forecasted at 74-75 million tonnes, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov told reporters on Tuesday.
In 2011, the country’s grain and legumes harvest reached 94.2 million tonnes, which exceeds this year’s forecast by 19.7 million tonnes or 20 percent, he said, reaffirming the Agriculture Ministry’s recent projections of October 2, when the indicators were declared at 72.73 million tonnes.
“Our experts estimate this year’s gross grain harvest at 74-75 million tonnes, while the treated and cleaned grain harvest is estimated at about 71 million tonnes,” Fedorov said.
As of October 8, Russia’s farmers harvested 71 million tonnes of grain.
“They gathered more than 39.2 million tonnes of wheat grain. The indicator nears the target. However, lately several regions faced certain difficulties in the harvesting activity due to bad weather conditions,” the minister said.
In his words, the current indices within the ministry’s earlier forecasts on the wheat harvest (from 40 million to 42 million tonnes), but they are slightly below the target.
In addition, the country’s farmers garnered in 14.5 million tonnes of barley and 4 million tonnes of corn, which was gathered from only 50 percent of all farmlands under the crops. Under the Agriculture Ministry’s projections, this year’s corn harvest may be at about eight million tonnes.
Up to date, Russia’s farmers harvested 1 million tonnes of rice from 70 percent of all territories under rice. The minister pointed to the record high harvest of rice, which is intended for export.
“As well, Russia’s farmers gathered the record high harvest of sunflower oil for export, which will be the ‘new word’ in the country’s export policy,” the minister added.
In compliance with data of the ministry’s experts and regional experts, the Russian Agriculture Ministry also forecasts that about three million tonnes grain will be concealed from the official statistics this year, while the Russian Grain Union believes that the indicator will be at about five to seven million tonnes depending on the harvest.
According to Fedorov, Russia’s export potential will be at about ten million tonnes this year, as compared to earlier forecasts of 10-14 million tonnes.
Under recent information, the present-day grain yield is estimated at 1,880 kilograms per hectares, as against 2,310 kilograms per hectare in 2011.
While commenting on the situation with grain purchasing interventions, Fedorov said, “The process of grain interventions will depend on the market environment on October 23-24, which will allow us to vary the amounts of sales and prices, as well as we will take into account experts’ opinions.”
The weekly grain sales are forecasted at 110,000 tonnes, or about one million tonnes before the end of the year. The country’s Intervention Fund accumulated five million tonnes of grain.