Ukraine Develops into Major Grain Competitor

USAgNet - 06/18/2021

Ukraine will be a fierce competitor in grain markets this year and for years to come, according to a senior agriculture official from that country. Nikolay Gorbachov, president of the Ukrainian Grain Association, is forecasting a bumper crop in 2021-22. The association's official estimate calls for 97.3 million tonnes of grains, oilseeds and pulses.

But after a recent road trip from Odessa to Kiev, he believes the harvest will be more than 100 million tonnes, topping the previous record of 98.3 million tonnes set in 2019-20.

"What I can tell you about Ukraine is the conditions are just perfect," Gorbachov told delegates attending the International Grains Council's Grains Conference 2021, adding that abundant rain reminds him of Scotland. "All the fields are green."

According to The Western Producer, Gorbachov believes farmers will produce more than 30 million tonnes of wheat. The current record is 28 million tonnes.

"A group of traders think the wheat crop could be up to 35 million tonnes," said Gorbachov. "In that case we can export 25 to 27 million tonnes."

For now, the association is sticking with its forecast of 21 million tonnes of wheat exports because there are still a few weeks before harvest and a lot can happen between now and then.

Crop quality could be compromised due to persistent rain. Excess moisture could cause fungus problems but for the moment the crop looks fantastic.

Ukraine's wheat crop is typically 70 to 80 percent milling wheat quality but the proportion may be lower this year. There is a risk that farmers may not achieve that 12.5 or 13 percent protein level due to the lack of sunshine.

Ukraine crushes about 250,000 tonnes a year and exports the rest. Sunflower production is forecast at 16.56 million tonnes, a 28 percent increase over last year. Ukraine will crush 16.3 million tonnes of that crop and export the oil.

Ukraine's grains, oilseeds and pulses production has steadily risen to an estimated 100 million tonnes in 2021-22, up from 9.5 million tonnes 20 years ago.

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