They planned to harvest 149 million tonnes in 2013. But unfavourable weather patterns returned this year as parts of Russia and Ukraine saw heavy snowfalls in March, followed by high temperatures and a lack of rain in May. A lack of rain during the next seven days will cut yields of Russia’s spring grains, while a longer period of dry weather will cut yields of winter grains, Sizov added. As of now, he is keeping his 2013 grain crop forecast unchanged at 83-89 million tonnes, up from last year’s 71 million tonnes crop. Russia’s state forecaster is also cautious. “Let’s see what happens if hot weather persists for the next ten days,” said Anna Strashnaya, the head of agricultural weather forecasting at Rosgidromet.
Russia, traditionally the world’s third-largest wheat exporter, lost a quarter of last year’s grain crop due to drought during the second half of May and early June. Russia’s spring grain is starting to suffer this year mainly because of dry topsoil in the Rostov, Voronezh and Volgograd regions, SovEcon said. Winter grains, however, are doing better so far thanks to good soil moisture content to a depth of one metre, Strashnaya added.