MOSCOW, RUSSA — Due to dry weather, Russia may plant less winter wheat this fall than expected, Reuters reported, citing analysts.

The dry weather also reduced its 2021 wheat crop. Winter wheat sowings have fallen further behind the average pace in recent days, following initial delays when planting started.

The total winter wheat sowing area could drop by 700,000 to 1.2 million hectares from a year ago, according to Sovecon consultancy. Another consultancy predicts sowing will be down 500,000 to 1 million hectares.

Both had previously expected reductions of between 500,000 and 1 million hectares.

Winter wheat usually accounts for 70% of Russia's crop and brings a higher yield than the spring planted crop.

Farmers had sown winter grains on 10.8 million hectares as of Sept 30, down from 12.3 million hectares at the same date a year ago, according to the agriculture ministry.

Preliminary data from Russian regions show that farmers would be able to sow about 19 million hectares of winter grains, the ministry told Reuters. The area totaled 19.3 million hectares last year.