Planting campaign-2014 in Russia - focus on spring crops
The planting campaign of spring crops is strategically important for the Russian Federation, so annually agricultural producers of the country face rather difficult task. On the one hand, there is the need to provide the country with the carry-over stocks of milling grains, on the other – to receive good profit from sale of the goods. However, there are required good weather conditions to realize such plans, since the future harvest volumes and qualitative indices mainly depend on its stability. Experts of APK-Inform cleared up what surprises the weather presented to agrarians in the current year.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, as of June 5, 2014, the country planted spring crops throughout the areas of 48 mln ha (90.1% of the forecast), an increase of 2.8 mln ha compared with the similar date in 2013. In particular, the planted areas of spring grains reached 30.2 mln ha (94.5% of the forecast), up 1.4 mln ha compared with the similar date in 2013. Agrarians planted spring wheat throughout the areas of 12.8 mln ha (97.5% of the forecast), up 1.1 mln ha compared with 2013. Spring barley planted areas reached 8.6 mln ha (97.3% of the forecast), up 0.6 mln ha compared with 2013. The planted areas of maize for grain reached 2.5 mln ha (97.5% of the forecast), up 210.8 thsd ha compared with 2013. Sunflower seed areas totaled 6.7 mln ha (94.5% of the forecast). The country planted spring rapeseed throughout 910.2 thsd ha (83.4% of the forecast). Agrarians realized the planting campaign of soybeans throughout of 1.5 mln ha (87% of the forecast), up 606.4 thsd ha compared with 2013.
Estimation of winter crops areas
It isworthsayingafewwordsabout the condition of winter crop areas. Most agricultural producers noted that the weather conditions, which were formed in the spring period, were rather unpredictable: early warming in the Southern, the North Caucasian and Central Federal Districts, and then rough cooling. Within frames of the polling, nearly 80% of agrarians indicated that vegetation processes of winter crops in the reporting Districts started in the first decade of March 2014, and in the third decade the frosts came. The air temperature in frosty nights reached -6°...-8°C. But according to the majority of agricultural producers, the weather conditions did not cause substantial damages to the plants, as in the period of temperature fall there was observed snowing weather, which protected crop areas.
The weather conditions since the second decade of April 2014 until the end of the third decade of May 2014 developed in alternate ways for vegetation of winter crops in the Southern, the North Caucasian and Central Districts - sharp frosts alternated to droughts, which hampered agrarians to make the full-rate forecast and estimate the general conditions of winter crops areas.
In turn, agricultural producers of the Volga Federal District noted that since the first ten days of March 2014 winter crop areas were under snow covering until the first decade of April 2014. So, the frosts, observed in late March, did not make any destructive influence on the plants. Agrarians estimated the condition of winter crops as good and satisfactory.
Generally, agricultural producers of the European part of the Russian Federation estimated the condition of winter crops as good (59%), satisfactory (nearly 39-40%) and poor (1-2%).
Taking into account rather favorable weather conditions for overwintering and further development of winter crops, most interviewed agrarians noted that in the current season the quality / quantity of the harvest will be high.
Planting of early crops: whims of nature
By tradition, agrarians of the Southern and North Caucasian Districts were the first who reported on beginning of the planting campaign of spring crops. Since the first decade of March 2014 the reporting Districts faced favorable weather conditions for spring crops planting. However, most agrarians started the mass planting works a little later, since the second half of March, as they feared possible long winter. Agrarians of the Central Federal District started planting field works since the third decade of March.
According to agricultural producers, during the winter period there was accumulated the optimum moisture content in the soil, obtaining to development of good sprouts of early spring crops. Also, it should be noted that due to severe weather conditions during the autumn planting works, there was observed significant insufficient planting of winter crops, therefore agrarians focused on planting of spring crops. According to the polled agrarians, in majority of cases the spring crop areas grew in favor of wheat, maize and millet.
After the planting campaign in the Southern, North Caucasian and Central Districts hit stride, the weather presented some unpleasant surprise to agricultural producers. According to agricultural producers, since the third decade of March and until the first ten days of April 2014 the weather in the Districts became much colder. Therefore, the agrarians which planted areas did not yet receive sprouts, had little concern on the issue. In turn, the agrarians, mainly located in the Southern Federal District and informed about getting the sprouts of spring wheat and barley, were concerned about how the crops will carry the fall of air temperatures, and whether it will have negative impact on the further development of crops.
The favorable weather conditions, which established in the second decade of April, allowed to agrarians of the Southern, North Caucasian and Central Districts, to get good and uniform sprouts. Nearly 80-85% of the polled agrarians indicated that they received sprouts throughout 90-98% of the planted areas, which was rather good indicator.
In addition, it is worth noting that the reporting Districts faced rather productive precipitations, which provided favorable impact on the further development of crop areas.
Within frames of the polling, agrarians of the Volga Federal District reported that they started planting early spring crops in the second decade of April 2014. According to agricultural producers, the District territory faced relatively favorable weather conditions, which became fundamental for spring planting works. At the same time, in some cases agrarians noted that during the planting campaign the District showed cool weather, and the night frosts reached -3°…-5°C. However, it did not significantly affect the rate of planting works.
Since the first decade of May 2014 most respondents faced germination of sprouts. According to them, the plants came up throughout 90-95% of the planted areas, and were in good condition. At the same time, precipitations during germination and development of sprouts provided favorable condition for growing of agricultural crops in the District.
Agrarians of the Siberian and Ural Federal Districts noted that they started planting spring crops in the second decade of May 2014. At the same time, they reported that periodical rains and unusually cold spring complicated the spring planting works. Sometimes the air temperature in May was not above +10-15°C. According to agricultural producers, sprouts of early spring crops in the Siberian and Ural Districts came throughout 85-90% of the planted areas, and the condition of areas was rated as good. It is worth noting that agrarians of the Siberian District still continue planting spring crops, due to unstable weather conditions, and expect that in the current season the weather will be loyal and allow fulfilling the planting plans.
Maize & sunflower seed
Dates for planting of late crops such as maize and sunflower seed, are dependent on temperature of the soil, which should not be below +6-8°C. In the current year due to unstable weather conditions, agrarians often prefer not to hurry with planting late crops. Therefore, agrarians of the Southern, North Caucasian and Central Federal Districts started planting late crops since early April. According to the market participants, the weather conditions during the planting campaign were very volatile, and agrarians had to use every moment to return at the fields. At the same time, the soil accumulated rather sufficient moisture content, which provided crops with sufficient vegetation and development.
According to agricultural producers of the reporting Districts, sprouts of the late crops came up in the third decade of April 2014. Agrarians estimated the condition of 85-95% of the planted areas as good, sometimes - satisfactory.
Since the first decade of May 2014 agrarians of the Volga Federal Districtstarted planting late crops. According to them, such planting terms were caused by the fact that previously there was no physical maturity of the soil, and most agricultural producers could not get out to the fields. In the third decade of May 2014 there were obtained sprouts of late crops, the soil moisture content was enough for normal plant vegetation.
However, some areas of the Volga Federal District showed moisture deficit in the soil. According to agricultural producers, in terms of the current lack of moisture there is not observed any deviations in plant development, so agrarians do not concern on the condition of crop areas.
Most respondents of the Siberian and Ural Federal Districts reported on beginning of late crops planting since the third decade of May and until the first ten days of June 2014. According to agrarians such planting terms were considered as optimum, as the soil temperature in the Districts warms up very slowly. To date the weather conditions in the reporting Districts worsened, so agricultural producers are forced to periodically suspend the planting campaign.
Taking into account the large scale insufficient planting in the autumn 2013, agrarians had to compensate the deficit with planting of spring crops. However, the weather conditions again became the main obstacle for Russian agricultural producers, which were unpredictable in the current year. According to the respondents, the spring 2014 was very long and sometimes even very cold, which called into question the planting campaign of late crops. But despite the whims of nature, most agrarians planted the crops throughout the planned areas, and its condition was mostly rated as good.
Naturally, many agricultural producers still have many troubles. We should not forget that the weather conditions always were the decisive factor for getting the highest harvest volumes, and nobody knows what they will be in the future. We can only hope that all efforts of agricultural producers will be justified.
Anna Malaya, APK-Inform Agency
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