Record-breaking Russian wheat harvest nears close at 87.8m mt

30 Oct 2017 | Tom Houghton

High wheat yields have persisted over the course of the week as the Russian harvest draws to a close, data from the ministry of agriculture showed Monday.

Wheat was harvested on 100,000 hectares (ha) in the week to October 27, taking the total harvested area to 27.3 million ha. – equivalent to 99% of the total planted.

Harvested volumes for the 2017-18 marketing year now stand at 87.8m mt. Up from 75.8m mt collected at the same stage last year, Russia is on course for a record-breaking year in terms of wheat production.

Significantly improved yields are the chief cause of the uptick, with an average of 3.21 mt/ha., up from 2.79 mt/ha. in the previous marketing year.

The total grain harvest now stands at 135.1m mt, up from 118.9m mt at the same stage last year, and well-above 1978’s record 127m mt harvest.

Similar to wheat, barley is showing a strong improvement in performance compared to last year. While the harvest lags last year at 7.7m ha. collected compared to 8.1m ha., significantly improved yields have seen 21.5m mt gathered versus 19m mt at the same stage last year.

Corn has been less impressive, with notably lower yields seen at 4.84 mt/ha. down from 5.57 mt/ha. last year. Despite the harvested area moderately higher than at the same stage last year, collected volumes are 600,000 mt lower on year at 8.9m mt.

Soybeans have also underwhelmed compared to other grains as the harvest this week touched 69% of the forecast total. While the harvested area is up modestly on the year, lower yields have kept production at 2.8m mt – up 100,000 mt on year.