Ukraine’s corn production could fall to 22-23 mln tonnes this year from 41.9 mln tonnes in 2021 because of a reduction in the harvested area caused by Russia’s invasion, its agriculture minister said on December 21, Reuters reports.
“It would be good if we harvest 22 to 23 mln tonnes (of corn)”, – Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky told Reuters in an interview.
The ministry in September, forecast the 2022 corn crop at 25 to 27 mln tonnes.
Solsky said farmers, facing a lack of fuel and funds, had left a lot of corn in their fields, and these areas could be harvested by spring.
“It means less volume and worse grain quality”, – he said.
Farmers had already harvested 18.4 mln tonnes of corn from 70% of the expected area with a yield of 6.27 t/ha as of December 15, according to agriculture ministry data.
The overall grain harvest totaled almost 45 million tonnes as of Dec. 15 and the ministry, which has forecast a total harvest of 51 million tonnes, has said 49.2 million tonnes could potentially be exported, depending on the logistical situation.
Solsky said a large area of non-harvested corn would prevent farmers from sowing corn again on these fields, with sunflower seed a possible replacement crop next spring.
“Harvesting corn in winter means that the fields will not be ready for the spring sowing of corn and this is another reason why there will be less corn. The fields will be sown with something else”, – he said.
“I think there will be millions more hectares of sunflower planting. First and foremost, by reducing corn crops”.
He said Ukraine would export a “few million” tonnes of sunflower seed this season, leaving local sunflower oil refineries without raw materials.
Ukraine had harvested 10.1 mln tonnes of sunflower seed from 4.6 mln ha, or from 98% of the expected area, as of mid-December.