London - Russia’s
wheat fields are expected to see warm, dry weather in the next two weeks, a
relief for farmers that have struggled with a cold and soggy planting season.
Wet fields of winter wheat will start drying out, which
would benefit the crop to be harvested next month, according to Commodity
Weather Group. Later in June, most models show rain will return, which would
replenish soil moisture and keep the crop in good shape, said David Streit, a
forecaster for the Bethesda, Maryland-based firm.
has a good soil moisture supply in place going into this drier spell that the
wheat can tap into,” Streit said, adding that the dry weather will help prevent
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Bad weather has lowered expectations for Russia’s total grains production,
and traders are closely watching weather forecasts ahead. Earlier this month,
the Agriculture Ministry cut production estimates to as low as 100 million
metric tons from a previous forecast of 110 million tons, according to a report
from Tass news service, which cited an interview with the minister.
Earlier in the year, cold weather in central and southern Russia, the main
areas for winter wheat, raised the risk of delays to the wheat and barley
harvest. It’s also possible that central and eastern Ukraine,
and central portions of Russia’s
North Caucasus could see lower yields, said
Kyle Tapley, a senior agricultural meteorologist at MDA Weather Services.
“I don’t see major problems for the winter wheat except for
some falling behind with vegetation, but it is not the major issue,” said
Dmitry Rylko, director general of Institute for Agricultural Market Studies in
The weather could be a bigger problem for spring crops, such
as wheat, barley and corn, which are falling behind in planting and
development, he said.
In the spring-wheat areas of Volga
region and the Urals, the fields will likely remain cold and wet over the next
10 days, which could slow planting and early crop growth, said Tapley of MDA.
However, conditions could improve later in the season, he said.
Sowing of spring wheat, the smaller of the two main wheat
harvests in Russia,
are lagging behind last year’s pace. Plantings account for 12.5 million
hectares [30.9 million acres] as of June 2, compared with 13.3 million hectares
a year before, according to the Agriculture Ministry. Spring wheat, mainly
grown in Siberia, usually accounts for a third of Russia’s total harvest.