Ukraine agricultural sector facing worst weather in a decade

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Weather conditions for winter grain sowing in Ukraine are the worst in the last 10 years due to severe drought across most of the country, the APK-Inform consultancy on Wednesday quoted weather forecasters as saying.

Ukraine, among the leading global grain growers and exporters, is likely to reduce its grain harvest to around 68 million tonnes this year from a record 75 million tonnes in 2019 due to poor weather.

“As of September 10 … the area with absolutely dry and almost dry arable soil layer increased up to 60-70% (of the total area). At the same time, the soil layer 0-10 cm was almost dry on 70-80% of the area,” forecasters said in a report.

“Mass winter crop sowing in areas with such a low moisture is impractical,” they said, adding that in some areas of central regions, soil moisture reserves were the worst in the past 50 years of observation.

Forecasters see no significant improvement in soil moisture in the near future and light rains, which are predicted later this week could moisten only the topsoil.

They said the start of mass sowing of winter crops could be delayed until the end of September or even early October.

Ukraine’s economy ministry last week said farms had not yet started winter grain sowing for the 2021 harvest because of drought.

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