MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russia’s grain production in 2018-19 is forecast to drop by more than 10 million tonnes due to a decline in wheat output, according to an April 26 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Grain production is forecast at 123.7 million tonnes, down from 134 million in 2017-18.

The USDA said the decline in wheat output is “due to decreased sowing area and closer-to-average yield after the 16% spike in 2017. Our wheat production forecast also reflects current estimates for winter kill and slower spring planting campaign than in 2017.”

The agency said growing wheat stocks and commensurate downward pressure on prices in 2017-18 have motivated farmers to decrease wheat acreage in favor of other crops where export demand is strong, such as barley and corn.

Corn is forecast to increase by 20% due to a 10% increase in planting area. As a result, corn output in 2018-19 is forecast to increase to 16.4 million tonnes, the USDA said.

Barley production is forecast to fall by 883,000 tonnes to 19.3 million tonnes despite increase sowing area, the report said. Barley yield is forecast weaker in 2018-19 based on the five-year average after a 23% spike in 2017 due to very good weather conditions.

The USDA said total grain exports in 2018-19 are expected to remain unchanged from the 48.5-million-tonne estimate in 2017-18 “based on historically high carry-in wheat stocks, stable domestic consumption and improved corn supply.”

Wheat exports in 2018-19 are forecast at 36 million tonnes, barley at 4.5 million, corn at 6.8 million and other grains at 1.25 million.