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The untrustworthy Ukraine Ag Ministry have lowered their 2010/11 grain crop production estimate to 45.0-45.5 MMT from 46-47 MMT.

That would represent a fall of around 5-6% on last season's 48 MMT.

Yet early harvest reports of mostly barley talk of better than expected yields, although progress has stalled this week as heavy rains hit the region.

It might be prudent to wait for some more reliable eye-witness reports to filter through next week, once our Ukraine correspondent Mike Lee gets back from his "one man on a yak" tour of some of the more remote parts of the country.