Ukraine as of November 29 threshed 67.6 million tonnes of grain and leguminous crops from 14.5 million hectares (98% of the target) with the yield of 4.72 tonnes per hectare, the press service of Ukraine’s Agricultural Policy and Food Ministry has reported.
Some 34.3 million tonnes of early grain and leguminous crops was harvested from 9.9 million hectares with a yield of 3.48 tonnes per hectare, while 33.3 million tonnes of maize was gathered from 4.3 million hectares (95%) with a yield of 7.69 tonnes per hectare, Ukraine’s Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food said.
The yield of buckwheat was 136,000 tonnes harvested from 108,000 hectares (99%), or 1.26 tonnes per hectare; that of millet was 78,000 tonnes from 51,000 hectares (98%), or 1.54 tonnes per hectare.
What is more, Ukrainian farmers threshed 13.8 million tonnes of sunflower seeds from 6 million hectares (99.8%) with a yield of 2.28 tonnes per hectare; 4.3 million tonnes of soybeans from 1.7 million hectares (99%) with a yield of 2.58 tonnes per hectare; 2.7 million tonnes of rapeseeds from 1 million hectares with a yield of 2.61 tonnes per hectare.
The yield of sugar beets was 13.5 million tonnes from 273,000 hectares (98% of the plan), or 49.4 tonnes per hectare.
Ukrainian farmers have sowed 7.1 million hectares with winter grain crops (the plan is 7.2 million hectares) and 1 million hectares with winter rapeseeds (116% of the plan).
The ministry expects Ukraine’s grain yield in 2018 will grow by 2 million tonnes compared to 2017, to 64 million tonnes.
Ukraine’s Agricultural Policy and Food Ministry has repeatedly reviewed the grain harvest of 2018 upwards – from 63.1 million tonnes to 64 million tonnes, First Deputy Minister Maksym Martyniuk has said. “As a result of the rains, we have very good indicators for corn. And today we are ready to voice a bold forecast that we will have a gross grain harvest of 64 million tonnes,” he said during the “Money, Go!” program broadcasted on the Novoye Vremia radio.
Martyniuk said that this is the second result in history after the year before last’s record of 66 million tonnes. In addition, the ministry reviewed the outlook for grain exports from Ukraine by 0.5 million tonnes to 42.5 million tonnes, adding that the achievement of this indicator largely depends on the ability of Ukrzaliznytsia to quickly solve current logistical problems and ensure a rhythmic supply of grain in ports. According to the ministry, as of October 19, 52.2 million tonnes of grain were harvested in Ukraine from an area of 12.7 million hectares (86%) with a yield of 4.11 tonnes per hectare.
The grain harvest in Ukraine in 2017 amounted to 61.3 million tonnes. Ukraine in 2017/2018 agricultural year exported 39.4 million tonnes of grain.
Gross production of soybeans in Ukraine in 2018 could be 4.2-4.3 million tonnes, which is 10% more than in 2017, Regional Director of the Donau Soja Association Oksana Prosolenko has said.
“It is expected that by the end of 2018, we will reach 4.2-4.3 million tonnes of soybeans. It is too early to predict the situation for 2019, given that the rules of the game have changed. You can estimate it at the end of winter and early spring,” Prosolenko told Interfax-Ukraine.
In the eight months ending August 2018, 3.426 million tonnes of soybeans were harvested, while for the whole of 2017, 3.8 million tonnes were harvested, President of the Ukrainian Association of Soybean Producers and Processors (Ukragropromsoya) Viktor Tymchenko said at the second Annual Agrarian-Practical Fat-and-Oil Conference in Kyiv on Thursday.
According to him, the average yield of soybean in 2018 is 2.53 tonnes from one hectare, while in 2017 the yield was 1.6-1.7 tonnes from one hectare due to adverse weather conditions.
Tymchenko also said that the export of soybeans for eight months amounted to 1.5 million tonnes of soybeans, whereas in 2017 – 2.8 million tonnes. The largest importer of Ukrainian soybeans is Turkey (700,000 tonnes of raw soybeans for processing). The import of Belarus has noticeably increased (from 70,000 tonnes to 200,000 tonnes), as the country built a plant for processing soybeans at the border with the EU.
At the same time, according to Prosolenko, Ukraine now has the opportunity of increasing the export of soybeans to EU countries.
According to Tymchenko, soybean export is complicated by the logistics problems of Ukrzaliznytsia. Prosolenko also said that although officially the cultivation of genetically modified soybeans in Ukraine is not allowed and does not officially exist, but in fact, 60-70% of soybeans are modified. It also complicates exports, the expert said.
According to the president of Ukragropromsoya, soybean processing in Ukraine is about 1 million tonnes: 751,000 tonnes of meal and 174,000 tonnes of oil. Export of meal amounts to 39,000 tonnes, oil – 166,000 tonnes.
At the same time, according to the expert, the increase in the processing of soybeans is unlikely, since Ukraine’s domestic sales market is shrinking due to the decrease in the number of animals fed with soybean meal.
Ukraine’s Agricultural Policy and Food Ministry predicts that corn harvest in Ukraine would increase by 19.4% in 2018 compared with 2017, to 29.5 million tonnes.
“We expect the corn harvest this year to be about 29.5 million tonnes, while the export of the crop this agricultural year [2018/2019 agri-year, July-June] will amount to 22 million tonnes,” First Deputy Minister of Agricultural Policy and Food Maksym Martyniuk said at a press conference on Tuesday.
The ministry estimates that the wheat harvest in 2018 may decrease by 7.6%, to 24.2 million tonnes, barley by 13%, to 7.2 million tonnes, rye – by 15%, to 0.38 million tonnes, buckwheat – by 25%, to 0.14 million tonnes, soybean – by 2.6%, to 3.8 million tonnes, and sugar beet – by 10.7%, to 13.3 million tonnes.
The harvest of sunflower can grow by 9.8%, to 13.4 million tonnes, and rapeseed – by 18.2%, to 2.6 million tonnes.
The areas planted with crops for the 2019 harvest will be 8.09 million hectares, in particular 6.2 million hectares with winter wheat, 0.89 million hectares with winter rape, and 0.87 million with winter barley.
The Agricultural Policy and Food Ministry of Ukraine has reviewed upwards the 2018 grain harvest forecast from over 60 million tonnes to 63.1 million tonnes, which is 1.1 million tonnes more than in the previous agricultural year, acting Agricultural Policy and Food Minister Maksym Martyniuk wrote on his Facebook page. “A group of late grain crops will contribute to the growth. Weather conditions were far from optimal, but losses were fragmentary, and as a result we have a decent ratio of bread wheat/coarse grains at 60/40,” he said.
The head of the agrarian ministry added that the export forecast was also increased, to 42 million tonnes.
“It is good news. The situation in the world (poor harvests in supplying countries, rising prices) raises its status to” magnificent,” Martyniuk said.
He also said that if the field works started late spring, the sowing campaign began almost a week earlier: as of September 10, 237,100 hectares were sown with grain, which is 3% of the forecast.
“Rain is a bonus,” the acting minister said.
According to the ministry, as of September 10, the harvest of grain and leguminous crops amounted to 35.4 million tonnes from 10.1 million hectares, or 68% of the forecast. These include early cereals: 34.3 million tonnes were harvested from an area of 9.9 million hectares, and 0.82 million tonnes of corn was harvested from 147,000 hectares (3% of the forecast).
Oilseeds harvest in Ukraine could grow by 1.5 million tonnes this year compared with 2017, to 21.7 million, according to the UkrAgroConsult consulting agency.
“According to the results of this year, we forecast growth of the harvest to 21.7 million tonnes for three main oil crops – sunflower, rapeseeds and soybeans,” Director General of the UkrAgroConsult consulting agency Serhiy Feofilov said at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine.
According to him, Ukrainian farmers continue expanding crop areas, increasing yield and general production of sunflower and other oilseeds, as these crops are currently the most profitable.
“Now the prices for wheat and barley are very close to each other, it is about $230 per tonne FOB, but even six months ago wheat was at around $180-190 per tonne FOB. The prices for corn are about $185 per tonne FOB, which is due to expectations of a high harvest, but even these prices are $30 higher than a year ago,” the UkrAgroConsult director general said.
At the same time, he said that even now grain crops will not be able to compete significantly with oilseeds, although the prices for grain have grown by 15-20%.
“Presumably, the main reason for the increase in grain prices will be the current unfavorable weather conditions in the three major grain-producing regions of the planet, but probably in 12-18 months the prices for grain will return to the previous level,” Feofilov said.
In his opinion, despite the increase in oilseed crushing capacities, the demand for raw materials and the supply of oil, the growth of exports is not accompanied by an increase in foreign exchange earnings, which is the fundamental reason for the trend towards a decrease in the profitability of the oilseed complex of Ukraine.
“Currently, the prices of vegetable oils, including sunflower, are at the lowest level over the past decade – about $700 per tonne FOB. It should be emphasized that the export of oilseed products – oil, meal, soy and rape is about 40% of all agrarian and food exports of Ukraine,” Feofilov said.
According to the forecasts of UkrAgroConsult, in Ukraine the production and stocks of both sunflower and sunflower oil will be significant by the end of the next season, and this will put pressure on prices both domestic and export.
“It is likely that sunflower areas (6.5 million hectares in 2018) will be stable in the structure of crops in Ukraine in the future, which is due to the considerable demand and crushing capacities, which in Ukraine are 20 million tonnes,” Feofilov said.
The director general of the consulting agency said that the creation and promotion of a national brand of sunflower oil is an effective and proven tool for overcoming the tendency of falling profitability.
“Manufacturers now do not think about creating a national brand, most likely because they are getting enough margin, but the situation may change, moreover, it is already changing. Export in physical terms, in tonnes, is a trend towards growth, and exports in revenue at cost, in dollars – a downward trend. Branding is expensive, we are talking about hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars, but the results will be extremely positive,” he said.