PARIS (Reuters) – Ukraine could harvest its smallest wheat crop in 12 years next summer due to a further drop in planting in the war-torn grain-exporting country, Argus Media said on Tuesday.
In an initial projection for next year’s crop, Argus estimated Ukrainian wheat production at 20.2 million metric tons, down from 22.2 million harvested this year.
That would be well below an average 25.9 million tons for the previous five years and mark the lowest output since 2012, Argus said in a note.
Cereal planting in Ukraine has declined since Russia’s invasion as Kyiv has lost control of some territory while cash-strapped farmers have favoured more profitable crops like oilseeds.
Argus, which owns agriculture consultancy Agritel, said its forecast was based on an expected decline in Ukraine’s wheat area to 4.55 million hectares from 4.65 million this year.
The average wheat yield was projected at 4.43 tons per hectare, down from this year’s bumper level but above the five-year average, Argus said, citing improved growing conditions since a dry start to planting.
(Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)