MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russia’s agriculture ministry said on Nov. 8 that it projects grain exports in 2018-19 at 38 to 39 million tonnes, up from its projection of 35 million tonnes in September.

Because drought has taken a toll on Russia’s grain crop this year, there had been speculation that the world’s largest wheat exporter would limit exports.

Russia harvested a record grain crop of 135 million tonnes in 2017 and exported a record 52 million tonnes of grain, including 40 million tonnes of wheat, in the 2017-18 season. This year, the country has so far harvested 114.2 million tonnes of grain, the agriculture ministry said. 

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service said Russian wheat yields are down by 12% to an average of 2.89 tonnes per hectare. Total wheat production for 2018-19 is estimated at 68.5 million tonnes.

The USDA estimates Russian corn production at 11.8 million tonnes, down from previous projections due to smaller acreage sown last spring and extreme dryness.

Barley production is estimated down from previous projections to 16.8 million tonnes based on lower-than-expected production and yield in major producing regions, the USDA said.