MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russia is poised to remain No. 1 in wheat exports in 2019-20 although production and shipments are forecast to decline slightly from the previous year, according to a Feb. 20 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA is projecting a decline in Russian wheat exports year on year from 35.7 million tonnes to 33.5 million. It would be well below Russia’s 2017-18 export total of 41.4 million tonnes.

“Given global market conditions and the Russian crop forecast, it is expected that the Russian Federation will remain the world’s top wheat exporter,” the USDA said.

If realized, it would be Russia’s third straight year as the world’s top wheat exporter.

Wheat production in 2019-20 is forecast at 73.5 million tonnes, up from 71.6 million the previous year.

According to the preliminary data from Rosstat, production of all grains in Russia will be 121 million tonnes. Barley output is projected to increase by 20% year on year to 20.5 million tonnes, while corn production is forecast at 13.9 million tonnes, a 22% increase over 2018-19.

“Production in the three main grain crops has so far shown growth due to expansion of harvested area and by improved seed quality,” the USDA said. “Russian official sources report autumn sowing of the main grain crops on a record area of 18.2 million hectares or 104% of the forecast area. Among the other factors that contributed to the growth is usage of modern agricultural technologies, such as fertilizer and modern machinery.”