Thursday, August 02, 2012 -
Officials in Kazakhstan’s wheat sector expressed hope Wednesday that an expected higher than average level of rainfall during August will ease farmers’ grain losses following a long, dry summer.
"The agriculture ministry has published their forecast [of grain], 12.8 million tonnes [14.1 ] by clean weight. But it is raining heavily across all of northern Kazakhstan now," chief of the League of Kazakh grain processors Evgeniy Gan told the Reuters news agency, adding that he hopes the crop forecast can be increased.
The large grain producers in Kazakhstan and the other Black Sea region countries of Russia and Ukraine said months of higher than normal temperatures and lack of rain has seriously damaged their crops.
Gan expressed confidence that the new rains would help recover the most recently sown areas, but acknowledged that it was too late to rehabilitate the areas sown in the first half of the sowing campaign.
"It is clear that we won't get a crop anywhere closer to last year's, but the general picture may somewhat improve," he said.
But an agriculture ministry official said that they would not adjust upward the current forecast, despite the rains.
“Our next task now is to reap the harvest without losses,” the ministry official said.
Russia and Ukraine will continue to experience hot and arid weather conditions in August, adding further pressure on global wheat prices that are running 50 percent above June levels.