, D.C., U.S. – As Ukraine’s grain harvest nears to a close the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) estimates the country will continue to actively export wheat, barley and rye. 

According to a report from the Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food of Ukraine (MAPF), Ukrainian producers have completed the harvest of: wheat – 26.6 million tonnes, which is similar to 2016 output; barley – 8.6 million tonnes, 11% below the previous year; and rye – 471,000 tonnes, an 18% increase over the previous year. The continued decrease of barley production is largely explained by the fact that it offers, on average, 25% lower yields compared to wheat, yet production costs for the two crops are comparable. The growth of rye production was stimulated by a deficit of this crop on the domestic market for two years in a row. 

The corn harvest is in progress at the time of this report’s publication. Farmers have harvested 20% of planted area, resulting in 3.8 million tonnes of grain as of Oct. 3. Based on the dynamics of corn harvesting, planted areas, as well as preceding weather conditions in 2017, the USDA forecasts market year 2017-18 corn production at 27.2 million tonnes, a 3% drop from the previous market year.

In accordance with information from the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine (SFSU), Ukraine exported 17.5 million tonnes of wheat, 5.3 million tonnes of barley, 11,600 tonnes of rye, and 421,600 tonnes of wheat flour in local market year 2016-17. It should be noted that export numbers are higher for wheat and barley compared to the previous market year. Market year 2016-17 rye exports were 41% lower, compared to the previous market year, resulting from low supply of this crop on the domestic market. 

Wheat flour is gradually becoming a more important export commodity. It demonstrated 15% growth for market year 2016-17. 

“The major driving factor is the expansion of exports to a number of African countries that have begun to divert some supplies from traditional buyers in East and Southeast Asia, namely China and North Korea,” the USDA said. “The flour is usually shipped in freight containers that allow cost-efficient logistics of small-scale batches directly to buyers.”