KYIV, UKRAINE — Ukraine’s 2022 grain harvest, laboring under Russia’s invasion and subsequent loss of harvested land, could fall to between 52.5 million and 55.4 million tonnes from 84.8 million tonnes, Reuters reported, citing agricultural consultancy APK-Inform. 

The consultancy said in a report that the harvest could include up to 18.2 million tonnes of wheat, 29.9 million tonnes of corn and 5.9 million tonnes of barley. APK-Inform said a smaller harvest could cut 2022-23 July-June exports to between 22.9 million and 39.6 million tonnes, depending on the scale of logistics difficulties.

The Ukrainian government has forecast the harvest at 50 million tonnes this year but has not provided an export outlook. 

“Under an optimistic scenario, grain production in Ukraine is expected at the level of 55.4 million tonnes,” APK-Inform said. “If the harvesting areas under grain are further reduced amid mass shelling and arson more significantly, the grain harvest may decrease to 52.5 million tonnes.”

Ukraine is one of the world’s top agricultural producers and exporters and plays a critical role in supplying grains and oilseeds to the global market. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) noted Ukraine’s production in 2021-22 reached 33 million tonnes of wheat, 41.9 million tonnes of corn and 9.9 million tonnes of barley for a total of 84.8 million tonnes.

The war, which began on Feb. 24, halted Ukraine’s grain exports for five months due to a Russian naval blockade of its seaports, but an agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in late July has allowed grain shipments to resume in recent weeks. More than 560,000 tonnes were exported from Aug. 1 through Aug. 15.

Earlier this week, APK-Inform said exports of key Ukrainian agricultural commodities had fallen by almost half since the start of Russia’s invasion, compared to the same period in 2021. Ukraine has said its exports can reach 4 million tonnes a month soon, but this volume is significantly lower than the 6 million tonnes shipped before the war.

APK-Inform also said that Ukraine, the world’s biggest sunflower oils producer and exporter, is likely to cut its sunflower seed harvest to no more than 10.7 million tonnes in 2022 from 16.6 million in 2021. Sunflower oil production is forecast between 3.5 million and 5 million tonnes in 2022-23, compared with an expected 4.97 million for 2021-22. Exports are projected between 3.1 million and 4.69 million tonnes, depending on production and logistics impacted by the war.