Russian Grain Harvest Progress

Russia farmers in the Southern Federal District had harvested nearly 2.8 MMT of new crop grain as of Friday July 3rd, according to Elena Skrynnik, the Minister of Agriculture of Russia.

She says that Russia will harvest 85 MMT of grain this year, a 21% reduction on last season's bumper crop of 108.1 MMT. That is also 5 MMT less than the government were predicting a month ago.

Around 2.1 million hectares of spring crops perished due to drought, with over 25% (600,000 ha or 70% of sowings in the region) located in the Samara oblast, Skrynnik said. Also, Orenburg, Saratov, Volgograd and Penza oblasts, and the Republic of Tatarstan and the Republic of Bashkortostan suffered from drought, she added.

With a domestic requirement of almost 76 MMT, that certainly won't leave Russia with anything like so much grain to export in 2009/10, even allowing for a sizable carryover from last season.

Having said that, it's entirely possible that Ms Skrynnik is being economical with the truth, a not entirely unknown Russian trait for those that remember last year's regular announcements from the Agriculture Ministry.