Ukraine Wheat Production to Jump 50% in 2008/09 - USDA

The USDA estimates Ukraine wheat production for 2008/09 at 21.0 million tons, up 50 percent from last year.

The winter wheat crop has benefited from excellent weather throughout the growing season and the estimated yield of 3.09 tons per hectare is among the highest of the past fifteen years. The current USDA yield estimate is based chiefly on the analysis of satellite imagery: satellite-derived vegetative indices such as the normalized-difference vegetation index (NDVI) have proven to be a reasonably reliable indicator of wheat yield in both Ukraine and the neighboring winter-wheat region of southern Russia. Higher NDVI typically indicate greater vegetative biomass or, in the case of cropland, higher potential yield.

The harvest of winter wheat (which accounts for about 95 percent of total wheat area) typically begins in southern Ukraine in late June or early July and is largely complete by early August.