On the one hand, preliminary results of the harvesting campaign of early grains in Ukraine in 2019 impressed with the increase in production of the major crops, but on the other hand, they demonstrated the formation of the downward trend in the production of alternate crops. At the same time, rather favourable agro-climatic conditions in the vegetation period contributed to increasing of the yield figures of all crops, which in some regions even reached the record levels. In the current article, you can read about the key trends in the production of early grain crops in Ukraine.
General trends in the production of early grains
For 10 recent years, the general harvest volumes of early grains (wheat, barley, rye, oats and peas) increased by nearly 44%. According to the recent figures of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy, by the end of the harvesting campaign-2019 the general production of the reporting crops almost reached 38.2 mln tonnes, which is the absolute record for the reporting period. In 2019, the average yield of early grains was estimated at 3.83 t/ha, which also became the record figure. Taking into account additional treatment of grains, the final figures may become slightly lower and even vary at the level of 2016-2017.
In terms of the systematic growth of the average yield figures of the reporting crops, it is necessary to note the settled tendency of reducing of the planted areas under the crops. According to the recent statistics figures, in 2019 agrarians harvested early grains throughout the general areas of a little less than 10.0 mln ha, down 14% compared with 2010 figures (11.6 mln ha). At the same time, the growth of yield figures at 68% in the reporting period allowed increasing the general harvest volumes by 44%. It should be noted that in 2019, the favourable agro-climatic conditions in the wintering period and during the spring and summer vegetation periods contributed to formation of both the high yield figures and the low level of crop losses in the country.
Traditionally, wheat and barley dominated in the structure of production of early grain crops in Ukraine, which in 2019 covered nearly 74% and 24% of the general harvest, respectively. In the wheat segment, the production figures increased by 15% compared with the previous season, and in the barley segment — up 23%. In addition, the planted areas under the crops slightly changed (up 2% and 4%, respectively). Thus, the production volumes mainly increased, due to the growth of yield figures (up 12% for wheat, and up 18% for barley).
At the same time, the share of alternate early grains covered no more than 3% in the general production structure. In the current season, three alternate grains demonstrated some reduction of the production volumes. According to the updated figures, in 2019 the production of peas decreased by 25% (to 584.3 thsd tonnes), rye — down 19% (to 318 thsd tonnes), and oats — down 8% (to 384 thsd tonnes). At the same time, for 10 recent years the production of peas generally increased by 29%, but in the current season the figures of rye and oats reached the record low levels for the reporting period. Also, it should be noted that in the current season, alternate grain crops demonstrated some increasing of the yield figures (peas — up 25%, oats — up 15%, and rye — up 4%), as well as major grains.
While analyzing the regional distribution of early grains production, it should be noted that in the wheat segment there is the most stable situation, and in almost all oblasts the planted areas under the grain for the harvest-2019 almost corresponded to the last year figures. We can highlight only Ivano-Frankivsk oblast, where in 2019 the harvested areas reduced by 21% compared with 2018, as well as Chernivtsi oblast — up 16%. But in absolute terms, the changes are insignificant and do not have any serious impact on the general production results.
In the segment of barley, we should stress two oblasts of the southern region — Mykolaiv and Kherson oblasts, where the grain planted areas increased by 10% and 24%, respectively. At the same time, Mykolaiv oblast takes the second position after Odessa oblast in the rating of regions by barley areas, and Kherson oblast — the fourth position. The common areas of the reporting oblasts cover 19% of the general areas in the country in 2019, and the common production of barley — 18% of the general harvest. The expansion of the planted areas in the oblasts was completely reasonable, because according to the recent statistics figures, in the new season the average yield of barley in both oblasts increased by 33%, compared with the previous season.
At the same time, despite expansion of barley areas by 15% in Sumy oblast, the average yield in the region decreased by 4% compared with last year. In Dnipropetrovsk oblast (the third largest oblast by barley areas), the areas slightly reduced (down 3%), but the increase of the average yield by 39% compared with the last year figures, somewhat compensated the losses. In other oblasts, the situation remained relatively stable.
The general reduction of rye areas in Ukraine causes the most significant concern, which also forms the deficit of supply of the grain on the market. In 2019, only Ivano-Frankivsk (up 39%), Kharkiv (up 33%) and Zaporizhia oblasts (up 28%) demonstrated the upward trends of the planted areas under rye. Generally, the reporting oblasts concentrate 6% only of the general areas under the grain, which did not allow compensating the countrywide reduction of the areas. According to the analysis of the TOP-4 of oblasts, which in the current season covered almost 63% of the whole areas under rye, showed that the areas in Volyn oblast decreased by 10%, in Zhytomyr and Chernihiv oblasts — down 30% each, and in Rivne oblast — down 38%. Thus, the planted areas in the key oblasts-producers decreased by more than 27%.
As a reminder, rather low yield of the grain became the main reason for reduction of rye production, and did not allow forming the high profitability per unit area, especially in terms of the current low prices. In terms of the growth of yield figures of other early grains in the current season, the rye segment demonstrated the opposite situation, and in many key oblasts the yield indicators were lower compared with the last year level.
As for the production of oats, the reporting market segment is quite consolidated in terms of regional distribution, and only two oblasts concentrated almost 40% of the planted areas under the grain. At the same time, Volyn oblast showed the downward trend in oats areas by 12% (to 34.6 thsd ha), but compensated the trend by the growth of yield by 18% (to 2.32 t/ha). But in Zhytomyr oblast, in terms of reduction of the areas by 24% (to 25.5 thsd ha), the yield also decreased by 3% (to 2.23 C/ha). In most other regions, the situation developed in such way that the reduction of planted areas was compensated by the corresponding increase of the yield figures.
In the segment of peas, in terms of the general reduction of planted areas in all oblasts, the downward rates in Kharkiv oblast became the most significant figures — down 39% (to 31 thsd ha). It is the second largest region in Ukraine by the planted areas under the crop. The decrease of the yield level in Kharkiv oblast in 2019 to 1.86 t/ha (down 5%) aggravated the significance of the downward trend.
Generally, it should be noted that the final figures formed on the basis of the analysis of the harvest results after completion of grain treatment processes may become slightly lower than the figures given in the current article, but the general trends will remain unchanged. The current season demonstrated some reduction of the planted areas under alternate crops, which was compensated by the corresponding increase of the yield figures, in terms of rather optimum agro-climatic conditions. To date, agrarians continue actively harvesting late crops, which were impacted by the August drought. The general grain harvest in 2019 in Ukraine is expected to vary at the last year level — 71.5 mln tonnes (up 2%). Traditionally, the major goal of Ukrainian agrarians is the effective sales of the harvested volumes.
Andrei Kupchenko, APK-Inform Agency