Ukraine Rapeseed Conditions Worsen

The Ukraine Ministry of Agriculture say that 25.5 percent of winter rapeseed in the country is now rated as poor, up from 22.4 percent a week ago and 20.8 percent the week before that.

The crop area rated as good has declined from 36 percent to 33.4 percent.

Around 17.1% or 242,700 ha of winter rapeseed area will need to be resown, say the Ministry, although they don't say where the money is coming from to fund it.

My newest chum, Kiev-based agronomist Mike Lee, emailed me late last week to say that he was just back from a whistle-stop tour of the surrounding Kiev region and there was still "snow everywhere, between 5cm and 20cm deep. That in itself is not a problem but underneath the snow there appears to be a layer of solid ice."

"We had some periods of thaw and freeze in Jan and Feb and the melt water has pooled and permeated into the soil before re-freezing," he says.

Although it is currently still difficult to quantify crop losses due to the remaining snow cover "my gut feeling at this stage is that we will see higher than average levels of crop losses this year but not as high as 2003 when it jumped up to 25%," he suggests.

On a side note, he also informs me that the local media reports that the newly elected government has launched some new legislation which has "effectively blocked the range of pesticides allowed to be imported in to Ukraine, which could be a problem if it turns out to be true."