Ukraine sees record wheat harvest in 2015

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Ukraine harvested around 26.5 million tonnes of wheat, 23.2 million tonnes of corn, 8.3 million tonnes of barley, and 391,000 tonnes of rye in 2015, according to data by the State Statistics Service of Ukraine (SSSU). The data do not include information about crops harvested in the Crimean Peninsula. A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) report published on April 25 estimates Crimea produced around 742,000 tonnes of wheat, 463,000 tonnes of barley and 5,000 tonnes of corn in 2015. Production, Supply and Demand (PSD) data for wheat, corn and barley have been adjusted, taking into account Crimean Peninsula estimates – both in terms of area and volumes of production.

In 2015, wheat production increased by 10%, which made it a record-breaking harvest, while corn production plunged by over 18%. Barley and rye production decreased by over 7% and 18%, respectively, compared to the 2014 crop.

According to SSSU’s data, 2015 planting areas for winter crops totaled: winter wheat – almost 6 million hectares; barley – 983,000 hectares; and rye –145,000 hectares. Compared to 2014, areas for all winter crops were down: wheat dropped by around 12%; barley by 8.4%; and rye by almost 3%. The decrease in planting areas is most likely the result of both unfavorable weather conditions and sliding down domestic grain prices.

As of April 19 farmers have already planted significant areas of spring crops including: wheat – 158,000 hectares, a 17% increase compared to the same date of the previous year; barley – 1.7 million hectares, a 15% increase; and corn – around 1.2 million hectares, or 5.4 times higher.

According to SSSU’s data, domestic consumption for various crops has distinct long-term trends. Wheat and rye are mainly designated for food consumption in the form of wheat and cereals. Corn is predominantly consumed as animal feed, while barley is used for industrial processing, including as malting barley. Almost a quarter of corn is processed predominantly into starch and molasses by larger plants in Dnipropetrovsk and smaller processing facilities in Chernigov and Kiev, as well as small amounts that are crushed into corn oil. Small volumes of wheat are designated for high-quality alcohol production.

Wheat production in market year 2016-17 is forecast to reach 24.5 million tonnes, a decrease of about 10% from production volume for the previous season, based on decreased winter crop area compared to the previous season, which will not be offset by spring plantings. Exports of wheat in the new season are anticipated to decrease to 14 million tonnes.

Corn production in market year 2016-17 is forecast to reach 27.4 million tonnes, almost 18% above the production volume for the previous season, mainly due to larger area of production as well as expected higher yield. Corn exports in the new season are projected to grow to the level of 18.5 million tonnes.

Barley production in market year 2016-17 is forecast to reach nearly 9 million tonnes, almost identical to the production volume for the previous season. Barley exports in the new season are forecast at a level of 4.3 million tonnes.

Rye production is projected to decline further in market year 2016-17 to 350,000 tonnes – 10% below the production volume for the previous season. This will likely lead to lower domestic consumption and exports.
 
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