Ukrainian Spring Wheat Planting Nearly Finished; Wheat Conditions in France Worsen

    Reuters writer Pavel Polityuk reported yesterday that, “Ukrainian farmers have almost completed the sowing of spring wheat for the 2022 harvest and the overall rate of this year’s spring crop sowing is 25% lower than at the same date in 2021, the agriculture ministry said on Friday.

    “Ukraine plans to sow 14.2 million hectares of spring grains this year, down from 16.9 million hectares in 2021 due to the Russian invasion, the ministry said.

    The official data showed that farmers had sown 188,600 hectares of spring wheat, 927,500 hectares of spring barley, 4.170 million hectares of corn and some other commodities.

    “Ukrainian grain traders union UGA has said the area under spring wheat could total 190,000 hectares, 900,000 hectares of spring barley and 3.9 million hectares of corn.”

    Meanwhile, New York Times writers Marc Santora, Ivan Nechepurenko and Norimitsu Onishi reported on the front page of Friday’s paper that, “Fresh from its triumph over the last armed Ukrainian resistance in the devastated city of Mariupol, Russia appeared to be laying the groundwork Thursday for annexing swaths of southeast Ukraine, described by a high-ranking Kremlin official as having a ‘worthy place in our Russian family.’’”

    The Times article explained that, “With Mariupol captured, Russian troops are now freed to help entrench Russia’s authority over the rest of the eastern region — well short of Moscow’s initial push to control all of Ukraine, but strong leverage in any future peace negotiations.”

    Yesterday’s article stated that, “The southern region under Russian control covers a vast expanse that includes Ukraine’s agricultural heartland and several key ports. Along with Russia’s naval dominion in the Black Sea, annexation would tighten Moscow’s stranglehold on the Ukrainian economy and solidify its blockade of Ukraine’s southern coast.”

    World Agricultural Production. USDA- Foreign Agricultural Service (May 12, 2022). Click Image to Enlarge

    Santora, Nechepurenko and Onishi pointed out that, “In Kyiv, a committee in Ukraine’s Parliament accused Russia of having robbed Kherson of 400,000 tons of grain, sending it to Russia and creating conditions that ‘may lead to famine in the occupied territories.’

    “A Russian naval blockade of Ukraine’s ports is preventing Ukraine from exporting millions more tons, putting tens of millions of people worldwide at risk of hunger and famine, the U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, said Thursday at a U.N. conference on food security.”

    USDA- Foreign Agricultural Service. International Production Assessment Division. Crop Production Maps. Click Image to Enlarge

    In other developments, Bloomberg writer Megan Durisin reported yesterday that, “France’s wheat crop is deteriorating as record heat across the European Union’s top grower adds to global grain-supply woes.

    “The share of the country’s soft-wheat crop rated in good or very good condition fell to 73% as of May 16, putting ratings below this time last year, according to the latest FranceAgriMer data.

    “A dry, hot streak across France is draining soil moisture during a vital period for the crop’s development, with weekend temperatures expected to swelter above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) in many cities, forecaster Meteo France said in a note.”

    The Bloomberg article noted that, “The International Grains Council on Thursday cut its outlook for world wheat production to 769 million tons, a three-year low.”

    Reuters writers Gus Trompiz and Forrest Crellin reported yesterday that, “France has this week seen record temperatures for a month of May in some areas, further drying out soils that have received little rain this year.

    “The extremely dry weather has already caused severe damage to some grain crops and substantial rain will be needed by early June to avert losses in large producing regions, a technical institute said on Thursday.”

    And Reuters writer Christopher Walljasper reported yesterday that, “Global wheat supplies continue to face weather challenges. In the United States, an annual field tour of Kansas this week found the lowest yield potential in the top winter wheat state since 2018.”

    U.S. Agriculture in Drought. USDA- Office of the Chief Economist (May 19, 2022). Click Image to Enlarge

    The Reuters article noted that, “Global export constraints could be easing, as India is considering allowing traders to ship out wheat sitting at ports after a sudden ban on exports prevented dealers from loading cargoes.”

    Also yesterday, Bloomberg writer Jasmine Ng reported that, “The fact that India, which isn’t even a major shipper of wheat, could have such a big impact on the market underscores the bleak prospect for global supplies.”




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