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Dry weather delays sowing of Ukraine winter grain, Russia also needs rain

Reuters, 20.09.19

KIEV/MOSCOW, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Dry weather across most of Ukraine has delayed the sowing of winter grain for next year's crop in one of the top Black Sea grain exporters, the nation's weather forecaster said.

Ukraine and its rival on Black Sea grain exports, Russia, are both looking for rains in coming weeks. In Russia, though, the sowing is still running ahead of the last year's pace.

Ukrainian farmers have already sown winter grains for next year's crop on 17% of the planned area, or 1.3 million hectares (3.2 million acres), down from 1.4 million hectares at this time a year ago, the agriculture ministry said.

Ukraine sowed about 7.2 million hectares of winter grains for the 2019 harvest.

"It has been a standard situation of recent years - most of the territory is in a state of soil drought," said Tetyana Adamenko, head of agriculture at Ukraine's state weather forecasting centre. Ukraine has had drought conditions for seven of the last 10 years, she said.

There are hopes that massive rains will arrive in early October, Adamenko said, adding that precipitation expected in the next couple of days is unlikely to be enough to improve the situation.

There is also a lack of moisture in soil in parts of Russia's southern regions like Krasnodar, Stavropol and Rostov, said Dmitry Rylko, the head of IKAR agriculture consultancy.

These regions - Russia's main wheat-producing and exporting areas - are starting winter grain sowing now inline with their optimal timing, and rains still have time to arrive and improve the planting conditions, Rylko said.

"If rains arrive in early October or even in the middle of it, everything will be okay there (in Russia's south). If they do not arrive by mid-October, the situation will become worse," he said.

As of Sept. 18, Russian farmers had already sown winter grains for next year's crop on 56 percent of the planned area, or 9.8 million hectares, compared with 9.2 million hectares on the same date a year ago, the agriculture ministry said.

The general conditions for Russia's winter grain sowings are normal or satisfactory, a representative of Hydrometcentre said, noting also that some Russian regions recently saw cold weather, which is not dangerous for winter grains.

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