Just how big is Russia’s wheat harvest?
Some commentators such as SovEcon have been raising their forecasts for the harvest, to 100m tonnes.
But not the US Department of Agriculture. In its monthly Wasde report, it stuck by a far lower number, of 91.0m tonnes, with the International Grains Council, at 93.4m tonnes, well off the pace too.
That is in part down to differences in methodology.
The USDA has – unlike many other commentators – a policy of excluding annexed Ukrainian territory from its Russian figures.
It has long excluded Crimea, which produces some 1m tonnes of wheat a year, from its Russia estimates.
This year’s invasion has, of course, put plenty more Ukrainian farmland into Russian hands.
According to Origin Enterprises, “30% of [Ukraine’s] arable land is estimated to be in either Russian-occupied regions or unsafe areas”.
But that is not a complete explanation.
If it were, the USDA would be much more generous than other commentators on its Ukraine wheat output estimates.
In fact, its 2022-23 harvest figure of 20.5m tonnes is only about 1.5m tonnes above the consensus.
It does looks like the USDA believes that some commentators are being too generous in their Russian wheat harvest figures.
More may be revealed in Friday’s monthly USDA Wheat Outlook report, which offers some extra insight into the department’s thinking.
|Recent Russia wheat crop estimates
||Date of estimate
|USDA Wasde||28.70||3.17||91.00||42.00||15.388||October 12 2022|
|EU Mars||29.048||3.27||94.996||September 26 2022|
|SovEcon||100||September 22 2022|
|IGC||93.4||36.6||22.5||September 22 2022|
|Ikar||99||September 19 2022|
|Area data in million hectares, yield in tonnes per hectare. Other data in million tonnes. Source: GrainPriceNews|
|Recent Ukraine wheat crop estimates
||Date of estimate
|USDA Wasde||5.250||3.91||20.50||11.00||4.711||October 12 2022|
|Ukraine ag ministry||19.2||October 10 2022|
|APK-Inform||19||6.5-12.0||September 24 2022|
|IGC||21.5||13.0||7.6||September 22 2022|
|Taras Vysotskyi, first deputy ag minister||19*||September 19 2022|
|UkrAgroConsult||18.9||September 19 2022|
|Area data in million hectares, yield in tonnes per hectare. Other data in million tonnes. Source: GrainPriceNews. *= bunker weight|