Southern Ukraine starts spring grain sowing campaign

23 Mar 2022 | Yana Sukharska

Against the backdrop of growing concerns about a possible disruption of the sowing campaign due to ongoing Russian aggression, Ukraine has started the spring sowing campaign with the first grain going into the ground.

Planting is underway in the south of country in Odesa region, which has been relatively unscathed by the Russian invasion that is now in its fourth week.

Farmers had the first thirty thousand hectares of barley already in the ground by March 22, according to data from the country’s agriculture ministry released Tuesday.

That accounts for 4% of the expected area to be planted for spring barley.

According to the regional state administration, around 80% of the region’s farmers have enough supply of seeds and plant protection products (62%) and fuel (46%).

A shortage of oil – specifically diesel – is one of the biggest problems encountered so far, as around 70% of the supply used to come from Russia and Belarus, the two countries now hostile to Ukraine.

Planting of yellow peas has also started in Mykolaiv regions, despite ongoing fighting in the region amid reports that Ukrainian troops have won back territory.

The head of the Mykolaiv Regional State Administration noted that, although not all territories of the Mykolaiv region have been liberated from occupation yet, the work needs to get underway to secure future supply.

Despite fears that spring barley planting will be delayed due to low temperatures, the 2022 planting campaign is already slightly ahead of 2021.

"Even other things being equal, the level of soil freezing would not allow us to fully enter the field," the Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine wrote, adding, that any postponement of work would allow more time to prepare. 

Agricultural producers and government officials could use any delay to accumulate resources, organize work and at the same time invest in optimal agrometeorological terms.

The large-scale start of spring field work typically comes at the end of March, with some areas it spills into the first ten days of April, as night time temperatures currently remain negative, while in the north and the east temperatures are regularly reaching as low as minus 12 to minus 10 °C.