Ukraine's spring crop planting covers 3.6 million hectares to date

27 Apr 2022 | Yana Sukharska

Ukraine’s spring sowing campaign continued to pick up speed, with progress advancing by another 570,000 hectares, or 4 percentage points, between April 21-25, according to the latest update from the country's agriculture ministry.

As of April 25, 3.6 million hectares have been sown, amounting to round 25% of the forecast for spring crops. 

However, problems with sowing of crops remain in some areas where land mines have been laid.

Earlier in the week, Ukraine's minister of agrarian policy and food, Mykola Solsky, had delivered an update on the challenges facing some farmers in parts of the country.

“Part of the land will not be sown due to unexploded bombs, mines and debris in the ground. Everyone is working - from the central government to farmers and villagers, who themselves identify the coordinates and pass them on to sappers so that they have less work to do,” the minister said, referring to military personnel clearing unexploded ordnance. 

“But the main thing is that this process is underway and no one has given up. We need to understand that it takes a lot of time to overcome the consequences... and there is still a war going on in Ukraine,” Solsky said.

One of the major problems facing farmers is the situation with fuel supply in Ukraine remains difficult.

Prices have risen rapidly, particularly in the east of Ukraine where Russian forces maintain their invasion of the country, with Solsky warning that logistics and the difficulty in maintaining supply are driving prices higher. 

“We bring it, the channels have narrowed, the demand exceeds the supply - these are the logical consequences of standard market laws,” Solsky explained.

Russian forces have been pushed back from some areas, but are believed to be mounting a strong push into eastern regions, particularly around Donbas.

However, despite ongoing fighting, Russian forcres have not yet moved deep into the interior of Ukraine and the frontline has held largely static for 2-3 weeks.

Meanwhile, demining work in the fields has allowed the ministry to increase its forecast for the implementation of the plan for sowing spring crops in Ukraine.

"The situation has improved, now we expect 75% of the sowing plan", a recent announcement from the First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food, Taras Vysotsky, said last week.

At the same time, he noted, "in the near future it will become clear whether it will be possible to add another 5% by demining the liberated regions."

Earlier it was reported that according to the pessimistic scenario, at least 70% of potential areas in Ukraine can be sown with spring crops this year.

Planting progress

Nine regions of Ukraine have now completed the sowing of early spring crops.

Despite active military actions and the threat of further military action, sowing continues in country with Vinnytsia, Volyn, Zakarpattia, Kirovohrad, Odesa, Poltava, Rivne, Ternopil and Khmelnytsky regions complete.

Where the situation allows it, the regions plan to exceed all the planned normal planted area and provide grain to the regions where the sowing campaign has failed.

Overall, spring wheat planting advanced by 2.8 percentage points to 88.3% complete and has now reached 169,700 hectares - on par with last year's progress.

Spring barley planting progressed by 1.3 points to 819,200 hectares, or 61% of the planting area in 2021, versus 95% at the same point of last year.

The spring rapeseed sowing pace was still well ahead of last year’s pace - farmers have already planted 19,000 hectares, accounting for 57% of the anticipated area, while sowing had not yet started by the same date of 2021.

Sowing of oats has advanced 5.7 percentage points to bring the total to 77% complete on 137,600 hectares, against 100% at the same date last year.

Peas progressed by 0.8 points and had reached 109,000 hectares or 45% now planted, versus 91% complete at the same date last year.

Millet planting amounted to 8,400 ha compared with only 1,700 ha completed on the same date last year, with the figure corresponding to 10.7% of the area in 2021, that is used as a reference point.

Corn planting inched forward, with progress registered on 486,300 hectares or 8.9% of the planting area in 2021, up from 3% last reporting date but against 20% last year.

Sunflower progressed by 2.9% and was complete on 1.1 million hectares, or 16.6%, versus 33% last year.

Finally, soybeans planting had advanced by 3.1 percentage points to 101,700 hectares or 8% of the planting area in 2021, against 7% last year pace.