EUROPE – Ukraine grain exports are projected to rise to 42.5 million tonnes in the 2018-19 marketing year (July-June) boosted by higher harvests expected during the period.

According to Ukraine’s agriculture ministry, Ukraine expects to harvest 64 million tonnes of grain this year, compared with 61.3 million in 2017-18.

The country has exported 14.1 million tonnes of grain thus far in the 2018-19 marketing year and this is forecast to top total of 39.4 million tonnes realized last year.

So far this year, Ukraine has exported 3.2 million tonnes of corn, compared with 2 million tonnes at this point last year, and 7.8 million tonnes of wheat down from 8.6 million tonnes in the same period a year ago.

Improved grain production is forecast following good rainfall witnessed in the country, expected to provide good soil moisture for corn growth prior to its harvest.

In March analysis report, UkrAgroConsult raised its forecast for Ukraine’s 2018 wheat crop by 4.8% to 26.3 million tonnes mostly due to a larger harvested area.

The consultancy said in a statement the higher output would allow the country to export 17 million tonnes of wheat in the 2018/19 crop season.

This year, Ukraine is likely to harvest 6.4 million hectares of wheat with the average yield of 4.11 tonnes per hectare, the consultancy said.

In 2017 Ukraine harvested wheat from the area of 6.2 million hectares while the yield was at 4.21 tonnes per hectare.

UkrAgroConsult said that a larger barley harvested area was the main reason for a higher crop and export outlook this year.

Farmers are likely to sow 2.7 million hectares of barley this year and could harvest 2.67 million hectares, with an average yield of 3.26 tonnes.

Last year, Ukraine harvested 2.5 million hectares of barley with the yield of 3.32 tonnes.

“Based on our forecast of a 6.5-7 percent rise in Ukrainian plantings of barley – to 2.7 million hectares, its production may amount to some 8.6-8.8 million tonnes in 2018.

So, Ukraine’s export potential may reach 5 million tonnes in 2018/19,” the consultancy said.

Speaking at the Australian Grains Industry Conference in Melbourne, Ukrainian Grain Association president, Nikolay Gorbachov, said grain production in Ukraine had doubled since 2000 from 41 million tonnes (Mt) to 85Mt, and there was potential for that to double again.

He noted that Ukraine’s average wheat yield is only four tonnes/hectare compared to France which is 8t/ha and Great Britain which has the world record of 16.8t/ha.