MOSCOW, RUSSIA — The quality of Russia’s winter wheat crop, which accounts for nearly three-fourths of the nation’s annual production, has taken a hit following recent rains in several regions with more expected this week, Reuters reported, citing Russia-focused agriculture consultancy Sovecon.

“There was too much rain for winter wheat at this stage, which hits the quality — as farmers typically say, ‘gluten and protein have been washed away,’” Sovecon said. “However, it is improving the set-up for spring crops, including spring wheat.”

Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter, mainly to Africa and the Middle East, where food security has become a major concern this year amid high global prices and Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Winter wheat, sown in autumn for harvesting in summer, typically accounts for 70% of Russia’s crop. It brings a higher yield than the spring planted crop and is less vulnerable to adverse weather.

As of July 27, farmers in Russia had harvested 33 million tonnes of wheat from 7.6 million hectares. The average yield of 4.37 tonnes per hectare is close to the record high of 2017 when it was at 4.44 tonnes per hectare at the same percentage of the harvested area, Sovecon said.

Harvest data for the current season has not yet been published by Russia’s agriculture ministry.