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Rains arrive in parts of russia's wheat-sowing regions, more still needed - IKAR

Reuters, 20.10.20

MOSCOW, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Long-awaited rains arrived in some parts of Russia's winter wheat-sowing regions over the weekend after a spate of dry weather, but more were still needed, Dmitry Rylko, the head of the IKAR agriculture consultancy, said on Monday.

Wheat prices in Chicago, a global benchmark, rose more than 1% on Monday to their highest in almost six years as dry weather in several leading exporters, including Russia, raised worries about supplies.

Farmers in Russia, one of the world's largest exporters of the grain, and its peer Ukraine have been sowing winter wheat in dry soil this year, increasing risks for the 2021 crop.

"Rains were not everywhere and were not sufficient in many spots," Rylko said. "Farmers are still waiting for new waves of precipitation."

Despite extremely dry conditions so far, IKAR, one of the leading agriculture consultancies in Moscow, expects farmers to sow a record area with winter wheat this autumn, he added.

Earlier in October another agriculture consultancy, Sovecon, said the dry weather could reduce Russia's winter wheat sowing area by 10-15%, mainly in the central part of the country, Sovecon.

"The weather conditions are gradually improving for the 2021 wheat crop," Sovecon said in a note on Monday.

Parts of the Black Earth and Volga regions received some light rains last week, Sovecon said, and more were expected this week in parts of the Volga, South and Centre regions.

The weather in Russia is expected to remain warmer than normal in the next two weeks, helping crops to develop before the winter frosts arrive, it added.

Farmers have already sown winter grains for next year's crop on 88% of the planned area, or on 16.9 million hectares, up from 16.0 million hectares around the same date a year ago, according to the agriculture ministry.

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