WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Ukraine’s market year 2015-16 wheat harvest reached 27.2  million tonnes, the largest crop since independence in 1990, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) reported on Jan 28.

Production for the rest of grains for market year 2015-16 decreased: corn – down to 23.2 million tonnes, over 18% decrease; barley – down to around 8.7 million tonnes, over 7% decrease; rye – down to 391,000 tonnes, over 18% decrease, versus the previous market year. Ukraine is boosting grain exports to China while slowly increasing to the E.U. market. The milling industry is growing export volumes as well as diversifying market outlets.

According to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine’s (SSSU) data, 2015 planting areas for winter crops totaled: winter wheat – almost 6 million hectares, barley – 983,000 hectares, and rye –145,000 hectares. Compared to 2014 areas for all winter crops are down: wheat dropped by around 12%; barley, by 8.4%, and rye,by almost 3%. Such a decrease in planting areas might be attributed both to unfavorable weather conditions as well as sliding down domestic grain prices.

According to the preliminary data reported by the Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food of Ukraine (MAPF), Ukraine exported over 10.9 million tonnes of wheat, more than 8.9 million tonnes of corn and over 3.9 million tonnes of barley since July 1, 2015 through Jan. 26, 2016.

Official data from the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine indicates that from July through October 2015, Ukraine exported: over 7.5 million tonnes of wheat; almost 3.4 million tonnes of barley; and 780,000 tonnes of rye.

Given the record-breaking wheat yields in 2015, Ukraine has been actively exporting this commodity. Wheat exports reached almost 7.5 million tonnes for July-October, a 22% increase compared to the same period of 2014.

Significant devaluation of the national currency allowed Ukraine to increase exports of grain processing products (mainly flour and uncooked pasta) for July-October 2015 up to 128,000 tonnes, almost 55% higher compared to same period in 2014.

The growth of milling product exports is likely a result of national processors’ efforts to penetrate other destinations as their traditional markets among Customs Union member countries are gradually closing down for Ukrainian product. The supplies of flour to all Customs Union Members (excluding Belarus) are expected to decrease even further for the rest of market year 2015-16 following the decision of Russia to suspend transit of Ukrainian goods through its territory since Jan. 4, 2016, the report said.

Barley exports reached almost 3.4 million tonnes for July-October 2015, and stayed roughly on the same level compared to July-October 2014.

Rye exports reached a mere 7,800 tonnes for July-October 2015, almost 20% down compared to the same period of 2014, which reflects continuously sliding production volumes for this crop. Almost all this amount (7,500 tonnes) was shipped to Bangladesh, which is the new buyer for this product.

Corn exports for market year 2014-15 concluded on the level of 19.6 million tonnes, which is 1.7% lower compared to market year 2013-14.

As of Dec. 1, 2015, wheat stocks were around 30% higher compared to the same date of the previous year due to higher yield.

Domestic prices for all major grain crops were relatively flat over the second half of market year 2014-15 and significantly lower compared to the previous market year. This is likely the major factor that kept farmers from being engaged in very active sales since the beginning of market year 2015-16.