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Russia, Ukraine start wheat harvesting with higher yields, same quality

Reuters, 07.07.16

MOSCOW/KIEV - Black Sea wheat exporters Russia and Ukraine have started harvesting and are seeing higher yields and the same quality as a year ago, analysts and traders said.

The harvest begins with global wheat prices at around 10-year lows due to good prospects in producing countries.

Russia is widely expected to harvest a record wheat crop this year, and favourable weather has been improving prospects for Ukraine's crop since spring. Neighbouring Kazakhstan will start harvesting later in the summer.

Russia has harvested 4.2 million metric tons of wheat with a yield of 4.45 metric tons per hectare, theAgriculture Ministry told Reuters. Around this date a year ago, the wheat yield was at 3.74 metric tons per hectare.

Harvesting started in its southern exporting bread basket regions where yields in the Stavropol region are higher than a year ago and are around last year's level in the Krasnodar region, said Dmitry Rylko, head of the IKAR agriculture consultancy.

Yields are also higher in the Rostov region, according to a Moscow-based trader.

"It is already clear that the situation is great in the southern regions," he said. Attention of market players will soon shift to the Volga region where rains are expected in the coming days, he added.

The average Russian wheat quality is the same as a year ago, according to Rylko. IKAR sees Russia's 2016 wheat crop at 65-66 million metric tons versus 61 million metric tons in 2015.

Ukrainian farmers have harvested 369,000 metric tons of wheat from 2 percent of the planned area, up from 274,000 metric tons on the same date a year ago.

The average wheat yield so far is 3.75 metric tons per hectare, up from 3.20 metric tons a year ago, said Yelizaveta Malyshko at UkrAgroConsult.

"Our forecast (for the crop) is 23.3 million metric tons of wheat, but we will consider increasing the outlook to 24.0-24.2 million metric tons. This is because of a record high wheat yield this year," she said.

Ukraine harvested 26.5 million metric tons in 2015.

About 40-45 percent of the wheat crop is likely to be of milling quality, the same as in 2015, the consultancy said.

A Ukraine-focused trader said he also expected about 40 percent of the crop to be of milling quality and a total crop of 23.5 million metric tons.

"The weather is very and very favourable for wheat this year," he said.

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