Ukraine corn yields slump as harvest starts, winter plantings underway

Early signs suggest that the yield will be significantly reduced versus the previous year

Ukraine’s farmers have reached a landmark stage of their seasons, with harvesting underway for the corn crop and winter planting starting in the southern regions of the country, an official government update showed on Friday.

Early signs suggest that the yield will be significantly reduced versus the previous year, but since the corn harvest has been completed on less than 1% of the planned area, with only 2,000 tonnes of grains reaching the bins, the early results are not seen as indicative.

However, the yield was put at 2.86 tonnes per hectare versus last year’s figures around the same date of 25,820 tonnes gathered in, with yields at around 4.66 tonnes per hectare.

Ukrainian farmers have also finished their wheat harvest with 99% of the planned area (4.7 million hectares) harvested, delivering a production of 19.2 million tonnes, which is in line with what the industry was expecting.

The barley harvest also came to an end, with the final figure standing at 5.5 million tonnes from 1.6 million hectares, also in line with the market estimation.

The rapeseed harvest is also finished with 3.1 million tonnes collected and the average yield at 2.85 tonnes per hectare.

Farmers have continued to harvest sun seeds, but the progress remains slow – only 1% of the expected planted area has been completed, with 81,700 tonnes in the bins and an average yield of 1.18 tonnes per hectare, which is around 34% down compared to the early yields shown at the same stage last year.

Finally, the soybean harvest has just started with just 1,400 tonnes in the bins and the early yield put at 0.93 tonnes per hectare.

Winter planting

The agriculture ministry also said that winter planting has officially started in the Odesa region but did not provide any further details on the areas sown.

However, the ministry said the main focus, for now, is on rapeseed, of which production is not expected to decline compared to the previous year.

That is in contrast to winter wheat, where there is an expectation that winter areas will be fewer in the 2022-23 marketing year.

“Ukrainian farmers have reoriented from grains to oilseeds. We see an increase in the share of soybeans, rapeseed, and sunflower,” First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Taras Vysotsky said.

“First of all, this is due to problems with logistics. It is also obvious that farmers want to grow crops that have a higher added value, a higher price per tonne because the logistics costs are the same,” Vysotsky said.

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