ICAR: Russia's winter cereals can no longer bring record yields

Winter wheat sowing conditions in Russia remain difficult, especially in parts of Volgograd, Stavropol and the surrounding regions, although there have been some improvements in recent weeks, analysts said today.
Farmers in Russia, one of the world's largest grain exporters, sowed winter wheat on dry ground this year. That is a risk for the 2021 harvest.
"Despite some improvements in recent weeks, the plants are still in poor overall condition," said SovEcon's agricultural advisory service in a note. "Much will depend on how hard this winter gets and how much rainfall we see."
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, farmers have already sown 99.7% of the planned area, or 19.1 million hectares, of winter grain for next year's harvest, up from 18.1 million hectares at the same time a year ago.
The proportion of sowing in poor condition, which Russian officials normally estimate and approve at the end of November, is likely to be close to a record high, said Dmitry Rylko, head of the consulting firm ICAR.
Only 6-8% of Russian winter grain crops were in poor condition in the past two years when the country had large harvests.
The situation is also complicated by the lack of moisture in deeper soil layers in several key regions, which means a higher risk for winter and summer crops in 2021.
"It is already clear that Russia's winter wheat crops will not achieve record yields in 2021, but we may still have decent yields," said Rylko.
Russian farmers cultivated more areas of winter wheat this fall, which will partially make up for bad weather. Rainfall in several southern regions expected this week could also improve the situation.
The outlook for the 2021 wheat harvest in Russia could further improve in the event of a warm, snowy winter and mild spring, Rylko added.

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