WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Ukraine’s market year 2015-16 winter wheat crop is expected to reach 27.6 million tonnes, the largest crop since 1990, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) released on Oct. 28

Corn production is forecast to decrease to 22.7 million tonnes, over 20% below the previous market year. Barley production is expected to decrease to around 9 million tonnes, just 5% below the previous market year. Rye production is expected to fall to 365,000 tonnes, a 23% decrease against the previous market year. Winter crops being planted for market year 2016-17 could be at risk due to unfavorable weather conditions and delayed planting.

Ukraine’s corn harvest is ongoing. According to data by Ukraine’s Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food (MAPF), as of Oct. 20, Ukraine harvested approximately 13.5 million tonnes of corn from an estimated 63% of production area totaling 4.1 million hectares. Harvested corn area is 9% lower compared to the 2014 harvested area, and average yield is 2.7% lower. Low crop productivity could be attributed to unfavorable late-summer and early-autumn drought conditions. Based on decreased corn production areas and lower yields, the FAS has reduced its forecast for Ukraine’s 2015 corn crop down to 22.8 million tonnes, which is 20% below the 2014 production volume.

Ukrainian farmers are in the process of planting winter crops. As of Oct. 20, winter wheat plantings totaled almost 5.1 million hectares, barley – 574,000 hectares, and rye –140,000 hectares, according to MAPF.

Low moisture content in the soil due to insufficient rains during the last few months caused farmers to fall behind optimum planting schedules. This has resulted in lower acreage planted under winter crops compared to the same date in 2014.

Wheat and rye are down by around 13%, and barley is down by over 26%. According to the reports by the Ukrainian Hydro Meteorological Center (UHMC), effective rains were seen only in western and part of the northern regions of Ukraine. The rest of the country remains affected by a continuous drought that has lasted up to 1.5-2.5 months in various regions. Topsoil was completely dry in Mykolaiv, Kherson, Zaporozhye, and in certain areas of Odessa, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Poltava and Kirovohrad regions.