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Russia may plant less winter wheat for 2022 than expected -analysts

Russia may sow less winter wheat this autumn than previously expected due to dry weather, analysts said, further dimming prospects for the 2022 crop of the world’s largest wheat exporter.

Russia, which supplies its wheat mainly to the Middle East and Africa, has been hit by dry weather which at first reduced its 2021 wheat crop and then complicated sowing for the 2022 crop.

Winter wheat sowings have fallen further behind the normal pace in recent days after initial delays when the campaign started this autumn.

Russia’s total winter wheat sowing area could fall by 0.7-1.2 million hectares from a year ago, Sovecon consultancy said. IKAR, another consultancy, currently sees the reduction at 0.5-1.0 million hectares from 17.8 million hectares sown a year ago.

Sovecon and IKAR expected the reduction of 0.5-1.0 million and 0.5 million hectares, respectively, in mid-September.

Winter wheat, sown in autumn for harvesting in summer, typically accounts for 70% of Russia’s crop, brings a higher yield than the spring planted crop and is less vulnerable to adverse weather.

Farmers had sown winter grains on 10.8 million hectares as of Sept 30, down from 12.3 million hectares at the same date a year ago, according to the agriculture ministry. There is no publicly available data just for winter wheat.

Preliminary data from Russian regions show that farmers would be able to sow about 19 million hectares of winter grains, the ministry told Reuters. The area totalled 19.3 million hectares last year.

It did not provide an estimate for winter wheat alone, but added that the results of the sowing would become clear in December.

“There is a quite strong reduction in sowing in the Volga and Central regions (of Russia) mainly due to weather problems,” IKAR said, adding that southern regions could still compensate part of the fall.

Another variable is Russia’s grain export tax, Sovecon said. Moscow has set the tax on a weekly basis since June as part of measures it hopes will help to stabilise inflation, a sensitive issue in Russia. Russia’s inflation is at 5-year high.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Polina Devitt; editing by Louise Heavens)

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