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SovEcon revises Russia's 2024 wheat crop forecast downward

10 May 20242 min reading

SovEcon, a leading agricultural markets research firm specializing in the Black Sea region, has revised its 2024 forecast for Russia's wheat crop down by 3.4 million metric tons (MMT) to 89.6 MMT. In 2023 the country grew 92.8 MMT; the five-year average production stands at 86.7 MMT.

The primary reason for the forecast reduction is the persistent dry conditions in Southern Russia, which has received only 20-40% of its typical rainfall in recent months. Despite the possibility of forthcoming rains, they are unlikely to significantly reverse the current deficit. Southern Russia is responsible for approximately 40% of the nation's total wheat production. Additionally, there has been a general decline in plant moisture availability, especially in the western parts of the Central region of Russia.

Compounding these issues were unexpected late frosts on April 30 and May 1, which further compromised yields in parts of the central and southern regions. The frosts saw temperatures fall to -5C (23F) in the Central region and -2C (28F) in the northern and central parts of Rostov (the top wheat-producing region) and the northern part of Krasnodar (second highest). These conditions were especially harmful to already vulnerable wheat crops in the South due to earlier droughts.

The forecast was released earlier this week and does not account for additional frosts that occurred on May 9-10.

Andrey Sizov, head of SovEcon, stated, “After a favorable winter, Russia was poised for another large wheat harvest. However, the past two months have seen a significant downturn in weather conditions, including abnormal warmth, drought, and recent frosts. The full extent of damage from this week's frost is yet to be determined, but further reductions to the 2024 wheat crop forecast are possible.”

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