Farmers from Russia have been sowing winter wheat into dry soil this year, increasing risks for the 2020-21 crop, said a report on Nov. 17.
One of the world’s largest grain exporters, Russia is estimated to have planted 19.1 million hectares of grain, up from 18.1 million hectares at the same time a year ago.
“Despite some improvement in recent weeks, plants are still in a bad shape overall,” Sovecon agriculture consultancy. “A lot will depend on how harsh this winter in Russia will be and how much precipitation we will see.”
Conditions for wheat plantings are particularly poor in part of Volgograd, Stavropol, and nearby regions of Russia, despite some improvement seen in recent weeks, analysts told.
The situation is also complicated by the lack of moisture in the subsoil levels in several key regions, which means higher risks for both winter and spring grains in 2021.
The share of sowings in bad condition, which Russian officials usually estimate and release in late November, is likely to be close to a record high, Dmitry Rylko, the head of the IKAR consultancy, told Reuters.
In 2019-20, Russia produced 73.6 million tons of wheat, exporting nearly half of that total. It ranked fourth in output behind China, the European Union (EU), and India and second in exports behind the EU.
The wheat from Russia won’t be the only one affected
At the beginning of November, a GAIN report from the USDA said that weather issues negatively impacted the expected wheat output of Argentina for the 2020-21 marketing year.
The USDA expects wheat production in Argentina to fall to 17.4 million tons for the 2020-21 marketing year due to dry La Niña weather conditions, which are expected to cause losses for the next few months.
Wheat exports for the 2019-20 marketing are expected to close in November at 13.1 million tons, including flour.
The country’s corn production is projected to slip 48 million tons in the 2020-21 marketing year due to a reduction of planted area and yield. With a smaller corn crop expected, the USDA anticipates a decrease in exports of the commodity to 33 million tons.