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The drought in Russia continues to destroy the harvest of 2012. According to the Agriculture Ministry, the crops have withered away on 1.5 million hectares. The Krasnodar Territory became the first region in Russia that completed the harvesting campaign of the grain crops, such low figures were not reported in the territory for many years. In general, the harvesting rate of the grain crops in the country this year is a third lower than that in the previous year.
The Krasnodar Territory became the first region in Russia that completed the harvesting campaign of the grain crops, such low figures were not reported in the territory for many years, the Vedomosti daily reported.
The gross grain harvest reached 5.5 million tonnes this year on the croplands of 1.4 million hectares, the newspaper reported with the reference to the press service of the agriculture ministry in the Krasnodar Territory. In the previous year the grain crops were thrashed for about nine million tonnes in the region and 11.5 million tonnes together with corn and rice. “Such an unfavourable year has not been witnessed since the Second World War,” head of the Krasnodar territorial weather forecasting centre Yuri Tkachenko said. The reason for such low figures is strong frosts in late autumn and the drought in summer, regional authorities explained.
The drought has already affected 16 regions this year, the crops decayed on 1.5 million hectares, the Agriculture Ministry reported. In some districts of nine Russian regions the emergency situation regime was introduced over the drought. In southern Russia the emergency situation regime was introduced in June. The Rostov Region was the first hit of the drought, then the emergency situation was announced in the Stavropol Territory, Kalmykia and the Volgograd Region. The emergency situation was not announced in the Krasnodar Territory over drought.
The Agriculture Ministry reported that the harvesting rate of grain crops and pulse crops reached 24.9 hundredweights per hectare that is 32.9% lower than in the previous year. The wheat harvesting rate went down to 25.6 hundredweights per hectare from 37.1 hundredweights per hectare (31% down). The intrigue over what will be the size of a harvest in Russia remains this year, director general of the Prozerno Company Vladimir Petrichenko said. His latest forecast is 81 million tonnes and the official forecast of the Agriculture Ministry is 80-85 million tonnes.
The figures of losses, which the grain industry sustained, are not final, the Gudok newspaper reported. The Agriculture Ministry reported that a dry weather will persist in 16 regions and the losses of agrarian producers will be more massive. However, the current drought is not so large-scale as in the last few years, when the losses from the drought were much higher. The newspaper recalled that in 2010 a third of harvest decayed from drought, and the government even had to introduce a ban on grain exports.
However, the situation is very tense in some districts. According to reports from the regions, the emergency situation regime over drought was introduced in 15 districts of the Saratov Region, the Volgograd Region and seven districts of the Rostov Region. The emergency situation regime is about to be introduced in Orenburg, Kemerovo, Kurgan and Chelyabinsk regions.
The current situation made the agrarians change the forecasts on harvest, the newspaper noted. According to a forecast of the Agriculture Ministry, the gross grain harvest in Russia will reach 85 million tonnes this year against 94.2 million tonnes in 2011. Meanwhile, with such grain harvesting rates Russia will retain a major export potential and will be able to fill the intervention fund fully. “Our export potential is 18-20 million tonnes. But there are some unfavourable factors in the future related with the weather or the harvesting campaign, it will be about 16-18 million tonnes in case of a pessimistic forecast,” the newspaper quoted Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov as saying. He noted that according to the forecast of the regions, the gross wheat harvest will reach 45.33 million tonnes in 2012. The export potential is also quite good there from 14 million tonnes and higher, probably up to 17 million tonnes. Since July 1, 2012 Russia has already exported a little less than 500,000 tonnes of grain.
In general, if the current grain export forecast comes true, it will make it possible for Russia to stay at the 3rd -5th positions among the grain exporting countries in the world. The grain export exceeded 27 million tonnes in the previous agrarian season. Then Russia reached the second place in the world over this indicator for the first time in the country’s recent history.