Russian spring grain planting up 18%

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — As of May 19, more than 30 million hectares of grain have been sown in Russia, up 4.6 million hectares from the previous season, said the Russian Ministry of Agriculture.

Planting has been slow in many regions because of rain. However, this year’s yields are expected to be the highest for many years, as well as well above last season's rates.

For corn (maize), 70% of the fields have been already sown in the Central and South Federal Districts.

Sunflower crops have been sown over 4.7 million hectares, up 1.1 million hectares compared to 2007. Farmers in the Privolzhsk Federal District completed already completed their sunflower planting, and sowing has been nearly completed in the Central Federal District.

Soybean plantings are reported to have been sown over 200,000 hectares. For the current season, soybean planting is planned to increase by 100,000 hectares (to 883,300 hectares) compared to the last season.