Ukraine’s production of its three main grains – barley, corn and wheat – will fall by more than 10%, as financing constraints limit farmers appetite for spending on inputs such as seed and fertilizer, UkrAgroConsult said.
Production of corn, the biggest of the three grains by output, will drop for a second successive year, by 2.9m tonnes to 23m tonnes, the influential analysis group said, citing a drop of some 10% in sowing and reduced spending on higher quality seed.
A drop of 41% in Ukrainian corn seed imports underlines “the assumption that producers will begin using cheaper seeds produced domestically”, UkrAgroConsult said, forecasting a drop of some 5% in yields because of the reduced use of “production technologies”.
The reduced production would appear to curtail Ukraine’s growth as a corn exporter, with the country overtaking Argentina to become the world’s third-biggest shipper, after the US and Brazil.
Ukraine’s exports to China, under a loan-to-grain deal, have taken on a particularly high profile. Official data on Thursday pegged Chinese imports from Ukraine near-tripling to 574,000 tonnes in January.
‘Reduction of fertilizer use’
For wheat, Ukraine’s output will drop by 1.9m tonnes to a three-year low of 20.6m tonnes, the group said, despite a rise in sowings, with the boost from the extra area more than offset by worse condition and reduced use of nutrients.
About 85% of winter wheat, which accounts for the great majority of Ukrainian production, is in good” or “satisfactory” condition, down from 93% a year ago, after a dry autumn got seedlings off to a bad start.
And yields are “expected to decrease due to reduction of mineral fertilizers application, as well as higher share of weak and sparse crops than during the previous two seasons”.
The UkrAgroConsult estimate for harvested area of wheat this year, at 6.55m hectares, is larger than the 6.2m hectares forecast by the International Grains Council.
‘High cost of fertilizers’
Ukraine’s barley crop will drop by some 1.1m tonnes this year to 7.0m tonnes, the Kiev-based group said, reflecting a drop of some 3% in plantings of winter barley, which is in worse condition than last year too.
The group also flagged some loss to late applications of nutrients.
“This year the deficit and high cost of fertilizers has provoked some delay of their application,” UkrAgroConsult said.
The group pegged barley area this year at 3.0m hectares, on a harvested basis, above the 2.7m hectares expected by the IGC.
(Source – http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/seed-fertilizer-scrimping-to-curb-ukraine-grains-harvest)