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Russia drought may cut grain crop by 40pc

Moscow, August 16, 2010

Russia's severe drought may cut its grain output by 40 percent this year, a leading analyst said on Monday, as Russia's weather service forecast short-lived rains in some areas which could help planting for next year.

Leading Russian agricultural analyst SovEcon said it cut its 2010 grain crop forecast to 59.5-63.5 million tonnes from a previous forecast of 70-75 million tonnes, a day after Russia's first grain export ban for 11 years kicked in.

Coming after last year's bumper 97 million tonne crop Russia's worst drought in over a century has destroyed crops over large areas, sparking wildfires which have shrouded Moscow in eyestinging smog for days, and forcing up world grain prices.

SovEcon estimated the area on which grains have been lost at 7.6 million hectares by August 1, potentially leaving the harvesting area at around 36 million hectares, a blow to Russia which is one of the world's biggest grain exporters.   

This may result in a 34-35 percent decline in total grain production to 63-64 million tonnes. But it may fall further to below 60 million tonnes under a more pessimistic scenario as the losses may prove to be bigger and yields lower.

SovEcon has already revised down its forecast for Russia's 2010 wheat crop by 4 million tonnes to 43-44 million. But Russia's second most important export cereal barley appears to be hit worse and its output is expected to be 8.7-9.3 million tonnes, the lowest in the last 40 years. - Reuters




Tags: Russia | wheat | Drought | grain |

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