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Grain producers stick to conservative forecast for 2013 grain crop

July 24, 2013, 21:43 UTC+3

The forecast is based on an objective assessment of weather conditions in Siberia where sowing started late

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MOSCOW, July 24 (Itar-Tass) - Russia may harvest 75-80 million tonnes of grain this year, according to a conservative forecast announced by Pavel Skurikhin, president of the National Union of Grain Producers, on Wednesday, July 24.

The forecast is based on an objective assessment of weather conditions in Siberia where sowing started late, at the end of May, due to heavy rains. As a result, two million hectares less plough land was sown with grain than in 2012 - 13 million hectares, all in all.

Other regions had their problems too. Emergency situations were declared in southern Russia, in the north of the Volga region, two-thirds of regions in Tatarstan were hit by a drought, grain producers in the Rostov region, Bashkiria, Saratov, Samara, Orenburg, and Ulyanovsk regions experienced serious problems as well. Rainy weather has settled in in Central Russia.

Grain and leguminous crops have been sown in Russia this year on an area 2.8 percent larger than last year, the Federal Service for State Statistics said.

The area under these crops is 46.1 million hectares, an increase of 1.3 million hectares from last year.

The area under wheat has increased by 0.4 million hectares (+1.4 percent) and under sunflower by 0.7 million hectares (+11.4 percent) to 7.2 million hectares. At the same time, the area under sugar beet decreased by 0.9 million hectares (-20.7 percent), under potato by 2.1 million hectares (-4.4 percent), vegetables by 0.7 million hectares (-1.4 percent).

Agricultural organisations have the largest share of grain and leguminous crops that account for 71.5 percent of all sown areas, sugar beet 88.8 percent and sunflower 66.9 percent.

Russia’s grain reserves at agricultural, procurement and processing enterprises stood at 12.8 million tonnes as at July 1, 2013, a decrease of 24.5 percent from the same period of 2012, the Federal Service for State Statistics said.

However, this represents an increase of 15.7 percent from June 1, 2013.

According to Rosstat, as of July 1, 2013, agricultural organisations (excluding small agricultural enterprises) had 6.9 million tonnes of grain, which is 0.7 million tonnes (9.5 percent) less than a year ago.

Grain reserves at procurement and processing enterprises made up 5.9 million tonnes, a decrease of 3.4 percent (36.8 percent).

The Ministry of Agriculture expects 95 million tonnes of grain to be harvested this year. Some experts, including the company SovEcon (analyses the grain market), names 83-87.5 million tonnes, and has lowered its projections from 85-89 million tonnes expected earlier.

The National Union of Grain Producers expects 86-90 million tonnes of grain to be available on the Russian market this grain year (2013-2014), including carryovers and import from Kazakhstan.

As of July 1, 2013, carryovers, excluding new-crop grain, were estimated at 8.4 million tonnes. With new-crop grain, they will rise to 12.7 million tonnes.

The Union expects this year’s wheat crop to be 45-48 million tonnes, exceeding last year’s level of 37.7 million tonnes.

Skurikhin projects that about 15 million tonnes may be exported this year, which is comparable to the 2012-2013 marketing year.

Russia harvested 70.9 million tonnes of grain in 2012 and 91 million tonnes in 2011.

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