Russia wheat harvest at 9.4m mt, outlooks converge on 77-78m mt

Russian farmers have harvested 9.4 million mt of wheat from 2.9 million ha of land as of July 7, with an average yield of 3.23 mt/ha, data from the country’s agriculture ministry showed Wednesday. 

However, the overall production outlook for 2020/21 has been mixed, with some leading analysts cutting their production forecasts and others pushing their outlook higher as they zero in on a wheat production outlook of around 77-78 million mt.

The barley harvest has totalled 2.1 million mt to date from 615,000 ha with yields at 3.43 mt/ha, the ministry said, and 12.8 million mt of grains have now been harvested in total from 3.9 million ha at an average yield of 3.23 mt/ha.

Russia is expected to harvest 122.5 million mt of grains in the 2020/21 marketing year with the wheat harvest expected to grow 0.6% year-on-year to 75 million mt, according to the ministry forecast.

However, forecasts from private analytical agencies are mixed, with some companies raising their outlooks while others have made cuts recently.

This week, private agency IKAR lowered its projections for Russia’s total grain harvest to 126 million mt from 128 million mt and cut its wheat estimate from 79.5 million mt to 78 million mt, due to concerns over a drop in yields in south and central regions of the country.

Before that, SovEcon, another Russia-based analytical agency, cut its wheat production forecast to 80.9 million mt from 82.7 million mt, citing droughts in the southern regions.

Meanwhile, Rusagrotrans raised its wheat harvest estimate by 900,000 mt to 77.8 million mt due to increased acreage and boosted its overall grain output estimate by 300,000 mt to 124.4 million mt.

The USDA’s influential Wasde report, in its June update, put Russia’s 2020/21 wheat production at 77 million mt, up 4.6% year-on-year.

Russia is set to introduce a quota for grains exports in the second half of the 2020/21 marketing year based on harvest results, the Russian agricultural minister Dmitry Patrushev said in an interview at the beginning of the week.

At the beginning of April, the Russian government capped grain exports at 7 million mt until July 1, and exporters depleted it almost in a month, spurring debates regarding manipulation of customs declarations, which helped big companies to book future volumes without physically shipping grains on boats.