One more victim of Russian droughts




In 2010 in Russia, maize became the subject for discussions and even for fears. Market participants separated for two nominal camps: providing the optimistic and pessimistic forecasts for maize production in the current year. Taking into account that the Ministry of Agriculture decreased grains and leguminous plants final balances, the fears are fully justified. As for maize production, it is rather difficult to base on the official data, due to the absence of the clear estimations of the Ministry for the general grain production. At the same time, many agrarians were disposed to believe that due to the anomaly heat in Russia maize production rates will possibly be essentially decreased.

Scales of weather cataclysm potential...

According to market operators, the weather conditions, which generally impacted at grain and leguminous plants production in Russia, will essentially decrease maize production in the current year. Due to the anomaly heat before the beginning of the harvesting campaign of the grain, agricultural producers of the Central – Black Earth region, the Volga region and the north-eastern part of the Southern region announced that most likely maize production will not be high in their enterprises. The range of agrarians from the most suffered regions due to the droughts, as a rule from the Volga and the Central – Black Earth region, informed about the losses totaling 50-80% and even 100% of the crop. We should note that some of the agrarian harvested maize for ensilage, because the yield could total 4-8 c/ha, and it was unreasonably to expect for the terms of grain ripening according to the financial point of view.

We should add that the issue of the qualitative parameters of grains in the current year is also very important. The moisture shortage in the soil and the long rain absence negatively impacted for maize ears forming. All these factors made grain market "pessimists" to expect for bad crop prospects.

At the same time, grain market optimists state the opposite. According to the market participants, the unfavorable weather conditions essentially influenced at maize production, but there were also other positive factors, which may impact just only at the very slight maize yield decrease in 2010. Firstly, in the current year agrarians increased maize sowing areas, which will compensate the losses even if yield is low. Secondly, the Southern region is still the major maize-sowing region for grain. According to official data, the Southern region suffered from the droughts less of all. Moreover, despite the announcements of agricultural producers about the yield decrease by 10-15% compared to the last year, the critical maize shortage is not in view.

...and their influence at the yield

Due to the two-base situation on the market, our Agency realized the polling of agricultural producers of the major maize sowing regions at the beginning of harvesting campaign. According to the first data from the Southern region (Stavropol Krai, Krasnodar Krai, Rostov oblast), the yield totaled 25-45 c/ha, down 15-25 c/ha compared to 2009. The Central – Black Earth region (Belgorod, Tambov, Voronezh oblasts) also faced grain yield decrease. According to the agrarians, the difference compared to 2009 will possibly vary from 15 to 35 c/ha. However according to the polling results, the Volga region is the region, which most suffered from the droughts. According to the announcements of agricultural producers from Volgograd, Saratov, Ulyanov oblasts, maize sowing areas suffered or fully perished throughout the areas, which totals 50-95% from the general maize sowing areas. In several cases, the yield totals 8-15 c/ha. According to agrarians, the major problem was that as of the beginning of the harvesting campaign grain stalk was half dry, and ear was not formed in the right way.

Regions Yield, c/ha
Southern region 25-45
Volga region 8-25
Central Black Earth region 20-45

The polling results at the beginning of the harvesting campaign make to classify ourselves as the advocate of the pessimistic forecasts, than the optimistic ones. Despite all positive factors, which could positively effect at maize production in the current year, the droughts essentially damaged the sowings.

It is necessary to note that one of the main characteristics of the harvesting campaign-2010 is maize harvesting terms putting-off. We should note that the range of Russian agricultural producers announced that they had to come out to the field by 2-3 weeks earlier due to the anomaly heat.