Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Russian harvest 31% up on last year

Russia reports the current harvest stands at 82mmt which is 31% more than the same point last year.

Much back slapping can be heard echoing out over the Russian steppe as all those involved congratulate themselves on such a fine achievement.

But before we crack open the shampanski it's worth taking a closer look at those headline figures.

Total crop harvested is way up on last year at 31% but yield per hectare is actually up only 8% (H16 3.0mt/ha, H15 2.8mt/ha).

The current harvest has combined 4.8mha more than at the same point last year (H16 27.1mha, H15 22.8mha).

So the current barn busting headline figure is because yield is up a bit on last year but combines have cut more hectares to date.

I know we shouldn't extrapolate as there is still a long way to the finish line but I'm going to anyway.

If today's yield per hectare was taken from last years hectares then the current combined collective harvest would be 8% up on last year.

Impressive but not as cool as 31%.

At this stage we are only really interested in how wheat is performing as the other crop harvest (corn, sunflower) are only just getting underway but the same scenario plays out.

The overall wheat crop is up 30% on last year driven by an 8% increase in yield (H16 3.4mt/ha, H15 3.2mt/ha) and an additional 2.8mha gathered.

Wheat yield is up but with crop still to be cut and conditions deteriorating I think we may well see that extra 8% drop before we are done.

We'll discuss wheat quality in another post.

Latest USDA weather update for western and eastern FSU

Western FSU
Early-week rainfall was followed by sunny skies, aiding fieldwork later in the period.

Widespread moderate to heavy showers and thunderstorms (10-110 mm) maintained adequate to abundant soil moisture for filling corn and sunflowers over key growing areas from north-central Ukraine into western and southern Russia.

Rain was lighter, however, in west-central Ukraine (4-15 mm), where short-term drought (25-60 percent of normal over the past 90 days) has lowered yield prospects for soybeans and corn in this part of the country.

Drier weather in Ukraine and Russia later in the period promoted summer crop maturation and harvesting.

Despite the overall favorable conditions for summer crops, spring wheat in the southern Volga District was subjected to excessive heat (38-41°C), which coupled with increasing short-term drought (25-50 percent of normal over the past 60 days) has reduced yield potential as the crop progressed through the filling stages of development.

Eastern FSU
Sunny, increasingly warm weather accelerated spring wheat (north) and cotton (south) toward maturity.

Following plentiful precipitation during the growing season over much of northern Kazakhstan and neighboring portions of central Russia, sunny skies and above-normal temperatures (3-7°C above normal) favored spring wheat maturation.

Despite the nearly-ideal conditions, western-most spring wheat areas (southwestern Urals District and southeastern Volga District) experienced heat (33-38°C) and intensifying short-term drought (25-60 percent of normal over the past 60 days), reducing the yield potential for filling spring wheat in these areas.

The negative impacts are most pronounced in the southeastern Volga District, where satellite-derived vegetation health imagery depicts fair to poor crop conditions.

Elsewhere in Russia and northern Kazakhstan, satellite imagery shows good to excellent conditions in the spring wheat belt as the crop progresses through the filling stages of development.

Farther south, seasonable heat (35- 39°C) and dryness in Uzbekistan accelerated cotton toward maturity, with the harvest typically beginning during the second half of September.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Ukraine harvest 35mmt of grains

Ukraine's Ministry of Agriculture report the harvest stands at 35mmt from 9.0mha with an average yield of 3.9mt/ha.

As of last Friday wheat harvest was 93% complete with 24.4mmt yielding a respectful 4.2mt/ha (62bu/ac), up on last years 3.8mt/ha crop (56bu/ac).

Barley harvest is 96% finished with 9.3mmt yielding 3.4mt/ha (63bu/ac), also up on last years 3.0mt ha crop (55bu/ac).

In other news Ukraine's buckwheat harvest is expected to reach 174kmt, up 36% on last year with the extra supply anticipated to reduce the cost of the national staple.

Buckwheat is considered such a important crop that the Ministry of Agriculture jointly with the Anti-monopoly Committee consider it appropriate to track the entire supply chain from farm to retailers shelves.

Russian Ministry of Agriculture forecast 110mmt grain harvest

Russia's Ministry of Agriculture report the current total harvest at 62.5mmt, up around 30% on the same point as last year.

They go on to forecast a final harvest somewhere between 106 to 110mmt which could beat the previous record crop of 108mmt set in 2008.

Regional output figures are broadly similar to last year, give or take, with the Southern and North Caucus Districts producing an extra 3.5mmt or 11% increase and the Central District posting a 3.1mmt or -23% decrease.

The real eye opening figure is the Volga District reporting 7.8mmt extra grain on the same point last year which represents 123% increase.

I need to better understand what's going on so I will be taking a run through the Volga region shortly to have a look and see how it compares with the data we collected last year.

Wheat harvest is currently running at 45.7mmt with an average yield of 3.9mt/ha (58bu/ac), significantly up on the same point last year when the Russians had harvested 38mmt at 3.4mt/ha (50bu/ac).

Barley harvest stands at 9.2mmt (7.1mmt in 2015) with an average yield of 3.0mt/ha (56bu/ac) which is also up on last years 2.6mt/ha crop (48bu/ac).

With intermittent rains forecast for Central and Northern regions through the rest of this week and into next means we may see a slowing down of harvest activity by the next Ministry report.

Latest USDA weather update for western and eastern FSU

Western FSU
Scattered showers and thundershowers (10-30 mm, locally more) spread across Belarus and western Russia, maintaining adequate to abundant moisture supplies for corn, soybeans, and sunflowers.

The showers were generally passing in nature, allowing winter wheat harvesting to progress during drier periods.

Elsewhere in the region, showers and thundershowers (10-30 mm, locally more) overspread Ukraine as well.

The rain was welcome in west-central sections of the country, providing a needed boost in soil moisture for corn and soybeans in the wake of recent short-term dryness.

After a generally seasonable start, temperatures in Belarus, Ukraine, and western Russia slowly crept up during the week.

Temperatures averaged 3 to 5°C above normal for the week, with maximum temperatures often exceeding 35°C in southeastern Ukraine and the Southern District in Russia during the latter half.

Summer crops are generally in the late reproductive to filling stages of development.

As a result, the heat likely increased stress on summer crops, however, large reductions in yield potential are unlikely because crops are beyond the most critical stages of development.

Eastern FSU
Widely scattered showers in northern Kazakhstan and central Russia continued to favour late reproductive to filling spring wheat.

Rainfall amounts were highly variable, with some locations receiving nearly 25 mm of rain and many locations tallying no rainfall.

Despite this variability, soil moisture was adequate to abundant throughout the region and crop prospects remained good to excellent.

Temperatures averaged up to 2°C above normal in western spring wheat producing areas (i.e., Urals District of Russia) and up to 2°C below normal in southern and eastern producing areas (i.e., northern Kazakhstan, Siberia District in Russia).

Farther south, seasonably hot, mostly dry weather favored open-boll cotton in Uzbekistan.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Latest USDA weather update for western and eastern FSU

Western FSU
Drier, somewhat cooler conditions followed early-week showers, maintaining mostly favorable prospects for summer crops.

A cold front triggered widespread showers and thunderstorms (10-70 mm, locally more) early in the period across Russia and Belarus, sustaining adequate to abundant moisture supplies for reproductive summer crops.

The front also brought an end to the short-lived but intense mid-July heat wave, with daytime highs slipping below 35°C until week’s end.

Consequently, corn and sunflowers progressed through reproduction with little - if any - additional heat stress, though some yield losses from the recent hot spell are likely in southern Russia.

Corn in Russia’s Southern District was subjected to as many as 6 days of high heat (35-41°C) in mid- to late-July as the crop progressed through the tassel and silk stages of development.

Meanwhile, the sunny, warm weather later in the week favored winter wheat harvesting and enabled field preparations in advance of winter wheat planting, which typically occurs in late August and September.

Despite a favorably wet summer to date, localized short-term dryness has developed in west-central Ukraine; over the past 30 days, this region has reported less than 50 percent of normal rainfall, reducing moisture supplies for reproductive corn and soybeans.

Eastern FSU
Widespread rain and near- to below-normal temperatures maintained favorable prospects for spring wheat, while increasing heat accelerated cotton into the open-boll stage of development in the south.

Another round of showers and thunderstorms (10-50 mm, locally more) over northern Kazakhstan and adjacent portions of central Russia maintained good to excellent yield prospects for flowering to filling spring wheat.

Furthermore, heat has not been an issue due to the cloudy, rainy weather, with temperatures averaging up to 2°C below normal for the week.

However, drier weather will be needed soon to maintain the current favorable crop projections.

Farther south, increasing heat (daytime highs 38-42°C) in Uzbekistan accelerated cotton into the open-boll stage of development, likely putting much of the crop past the point of significant yield impacts from this week’s above-normal temperatures (1-2°C above normal).

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Latest USDA weather update for western and eastern FSU

Western FSU
Excessive early-week heat likely trimmed yield prospects for reproductive summer crops, though rainy, cooler conditions by mid-week prevented further yield losses.

A continuation of the brief but intense heat wave which began on or about July 14 lingered into the early part of the week, with highs approaching or topping 40°C in key corn and sunflower areas of Russia and Ukraine through July 18.

Impacts varied considerably from region to region, largely based on planting dates and the resultant crop development stage.

In northern Ukraine and Russia’s Central District, where corn is typically planted in early to mid-May, the heat had little impact as corn was still in the vegetative stages of development.

From southern Ukraine into Russia’s Southern district — where corn is planted somewhat earlier (mean planting date is late April) — corn was in the tassel and silk stages of development when the heat arrived; as a result, corn in southern portions of the region likely suffered some loss of yield potential.

However, widespread, locally heavy showers and thunderstorms (10-80 mm) signalled the arrival of cooler weather, limiting the deleterious impacts of the heat on reproductive corn (and to lesser extent sunflowers) to 6 days or less.

While potentially harmful for summer crops, the sunny, hot weather enabled a rapid winter wheat harvest pace before the rainy weather slowed fieldwork by mid-week.

Eastern FSU
Widespread rain and near-normal temperatures maintained favorable prospects for spring wheat, while somewhat cooler conditions in Uzbekistan eased stress on flowering cotton. 

With spring wheat in the heading to flowering stages of development, a soaking rainfall (10-90 mm, locally more) over northern Kazakhstan and adjacent portions of central Russia maintained good to excellent yield prospects. 

Showers were somewhat lighter (less than 10 mm) in the southern Urals District, but soil moisture was in good supply for flowering spring wheat. 

Farther south, the return of near-normal temperatures (daytime highs 35-40°C) in Uzbekistan reduced stress caused by last week’s heat on irrigated cotton, which continued to progress through the flowering stage of development. 

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Latest USDA weather update for western and eastern FSU

Western FSU
Dry, warm conditions prevailed in the region’s primary winter wheat areas.

Sunny skies and near- to above normal temperatures (1-3°C above normal) maintained ideal conditions for winter wheat maturation and harvesting from south-central Ukraine into western portions of Russia’s Southern District, a key winter wheat area.

A swath of moderate to heavy rain (10-50 mm, locally more) hampered drydown and harvesting in eastern winter wheat areas, but the rain was not expected to impact crop quality or lower yield potential.

Farther west, 10 to 50 mm of rainfall eased developing short-term dryness in northwestern Ukraine and neighbouring portions of Belarus, improving prospects for spring grains, soybeans, and corn.

Primary corn areas (north-central and eastern portions of Ukraine into southwestern Russia) have received near- to above-normal rainfall over the past 60 days, so this week’s dry, warm weather (30-32°C) promoted crop development.

Corn was approaching the tassel stage in Ukraine, and had entered the tassel stage in Russia.

Vegetative to reproductive spring grains in the eastern Volga District benefited from widespread showers (2-22 mm) and near-normal temperatures.

Eastern FSU
Widespread showers maintained favourable prospects for spring wheat (north) and cotton (south).

Early in the period, a departing storm system produced an additional 10 to 60 mm of rainfall from northwestern Kazakhstan and the southern Urals District eastward into the Siberia District.

The rain further increased soil moisture reserves for jointing spring wheat, which is on schedule to enter the key reproductive stages of development during the latter half of July.

Farther south, showers and thunderstorms (10-40 mm) over eastern Uzbekistan and environs provided supplemental moisture for irrigated cotton, which was in the flowering stage of development.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Latest USDA weather update for western and eastern FSU

Western FSU
Showers and thunderstorms boosted soil moisture for summer crops and ended the recent heat in southern Russia.

Early in the period, daytime highs approached or topped 35°C (locally as high as 37°C) over much of Russia’s Southern District, accelerating corn and sunflowers toward reproduction.

However, timely showers and thunderstorms (10-55 mm, locally more) later in the week boosted moisture supplies and signalled the end of the brief heat wave, with daytime highs dipping below 35°C as corn entered the temperature-critical tasseling stage of development.

Farther west, widespread albeit highly variable showers (5-80 mm) maintained favourable soil moisture for corn, soybeans, and sunflowers over Moldova and Ukraine, though short-term dryness has begun to develop over parts of north-central Ukraine (10-25 percent of normal rainfall over the past 30 days).

Meanwhile, dry weather promoted winter wheat drydown and harvesting in southern portions of the Central District, while light to moderate showers (2-40 mm) maintained good soil moisture for spring wheat development in the Volga District.

Eastern FSU
Widespread rain developed over the region’s primary spring wheat areas, while drier conditions settled over southern portions of the region.

A slow-moving storm system brought a soaking rainfall (10-80 mm, locally more) to northern Kazakhstan and neighbouring portions of central Russia, boosting soil moisture supplies for jointing spring wheat but hampering seasonal fieldwork.

Farther south, drier, warmer weather was beneficial for the development of irrigated cotton and also facilitated winter wheat harvesting in Uzbekistan.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Ukraine harvest update

Finally managed to find some information on how the Ukraine harvest is progressing, seems they have stopped publishing information on the Ag Ministry website as they had in previous seasons.

As of 4 July the Ministry report 576kha of early grains and pulses have been harvested (502kha in 2015) producing 2.0mmt with an average yield 3.5mt/ha (3.0mt/ha in 2015).

This includes 99kha of winter wheat with a yield of 3.7mt/ha and 457kha of winter barley with a yield of 3.5mt/ha.

I would expect wheat yields to increase as harvest moves north through the country.

Russian harvest update

As of 4 July, the Ministry report 1.4mha of grain harvested (0.7mha in 2015) producing 6.0mmt with an average yield 4.3mt/ha (3.7mt/ha in 2015).

In Krasnodar barley yield is 5.7mt/ha, down 10% on last years 6.3mt/ha, possible an indication that lodged crops have had more of an impact than previously thought.

Meanwhile in other southern regions wheat proteins are running low at 10-11%, far below the normal 13%.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Russian harvest update

Russian Ministry of Agriculture report harvest is underway in the Republic of Adygea, Kalmykia, North Ossetia-Alania, Stavropol, Krasnodar, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkess Republic.

As of 28 June, the Ministry report 670kha of grain and leguminous crops harvested (317kha in 2015) producing 2.9mmt with an average yield 4.3mt/ha (3.9mt/ha in 2015).

The Southern Federal District harvested 1.1mmt from ​​207kha (87kha in 2015) with an average yield of 5.4mt/ha (5.5mt/ha in 2015).

This includes the Republic of Adygea 90.7kmt from 17.8kha to yield 5.1mt/ha (5.4mt/ha in 2015); Republic of Kalmykia 42kmt from 12.7kha to yield 3.3mt/ha (2.6mt/ha in 2015); Krasnodar 990kmt from 176kha with an average yield of 5.6mt/ha (5.9mt/ha in 2015). 

The North Caucasus Federal District harvested 1.4mmt from ​​343kha (193kha in 20125) with an average yield of 4.2mt/ha (3.4mt/ha in 2015) with the bulk of this coming from Stavropol.

Still early days but my contacts are telling me initial test results are showing quality is down on last year.

Latest USDA weather update for western and eastern FSU

Western FSU
Favourable weather continued, with occasional showers interspersed with periods of sun aiding fieldwork and crop development.

From southern and eastern Ukraine into southern Russia, mostly sunny, occasionally hot weather accelerated winter wheat drydown and promoted a rapid harvest pace.

While daytime highs approached or topped 35°C, there was little - if any - negative impact on vegetative corn and sunflowers; corn will likely enter the tassel stage during the first or second week of July in southern Russia.

Farther west and north, showers and thunderstorms (10-50 mm) from Moldova into Belarus and Russia’s Central District benefited spring grains and vegetative summer crops.

Eastern FSU
Widespread albeit highly variable showers continued over the region’s primary spring wheat areas, while cooler, unsettled conditions settled over southern portions of the region.

For the third consecutive week, showers and thunderstorms across northern Kazakhstan and central Russia boosted soil moisture for crop establishment.

Rainfall totals varied from 1 to 51 mm, though most crop areas reported more than 5 mm.

Easternmost spring wheat areas received moderate to heavy rainfall (15-100 mm), easing moisture demands brought on by last week’s heat.

Farther south, showers (2-40 mm) provided supplemental moisture for irrigated cotton and resulted in cooler-than-normal temperatures (up to 3°C below normal) from northern Uzbekistan and southern Kazakhstan into eastern Kyrgyzstan.

Monday, 27 June 2016

UK farming post EU

As the UK voted to shoot itself squarely in the foot, the implications are falling out of the tree and will continue do so for years to come.

The task now for UK farming will be how to remain competitive with reduced financial support, how to deal with export barriers to their largest market and how to discourage governments likely to favour cheaper food to sweeten the bitter pill of EU exit fall out.

Probably worth UK farming lobbies learning a little Russian so they can study the impact of self-inflicted trade isolationism first hand.

Russia, in retaliation to EU and US sanctions, introduced an embargo on imports of many food and agriculture commodities.

The response was for Russia to implement an import substitution policy which essentially sounded like a “Buy Russian” and “Dig for Victory” campaign.

One outcome that is sure is that once the UK triggers the leave process they have two years in which to negotiate a position with the EU but there is no requirement for a position to be agreed or in place within that two year period.  At the end of two years the UK will revert to World Trade Organisation rules regardless.

The Russian Ministry of Agriculture said last week that membership of the WTO has done little for domestic farming and the industry has only been restored with the help of Russia's food embargo.

He might be pushing it to say Russian agriculture has been restored but you get the idea.

The Minister went on to say that "we have learned to live without Europe with regard to food, we will learn to pay attention to our processing capacities and develop our own equipment".

Early comments from the UK National Farmers Union, who ran a remain campaign and are now preparing to make British farming work without a carrot but with plenty of stick, is to “Buy British” and “Dig for Victory”.

Clearly the UK has a long way to go.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Russian harvest update

Russian Ministry of Agriculture report 124kha of grain and leguminous crops harvested so far (64kha in 2015) producing 587kmt with an average yield 4.7mt/ha (4.6mt/ha in 2015).

Republic of Adygea harvested 50.3kmt from 9.8kha to yield 5.1mt/ha (5.5mt/ha in 2015); Stavropol 336kmt from 75.6kha with an average yield of 4.5mt/ha (3.9mt/ha in 2015); Krasnodar harvested 194kmt from 36kha with an average yield of 5.4mt/ha (5.9mt/ha in 2015).

My early reports on quality is variable from poor to great, I assume that’ll settle down as we get more samples in.