Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Oilseed rape continues to grow

Roots developing nicely, leaves disease free, patchy emergence, generally OK.

I have several reports from Ukraine and Russia of very patchy emergence with crops that will need replanting with something else in the spring. 

I put this down to localised showers over the last month, or more accurately no localised showers resulting in dry seed failing to germinate or emerge late.

What I have seen is in good condition; minor grazing and a few mealy cabbage aphids but nothing significant and low disease pressure with healthy looking plants. 

There is a question mark on some of the later emerged crops as to wether they will put on sufficient growth ahead of the winter but time will tell.

Maize rallies

The price moved up a tad on the back of the PM (finally) ratifying the cancellation of export duties. 

Maize currently trading at just over 1,400UAH (125EUR) with a feeling that we might see more to come as exports pull the price north. 

Harvest going well with good weather conditions helping things along.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


Maize harvest is progressing nicely with moisture around 25% and the settled period forecast for next week will continue to help things along. 

The price has dropped recently as you would expect at harvest and with talk of a bumper crop in Ukraine and elsewhere I don't see this changing much in the short term. 

Frosty morning

Ice on the car this morning, chilly but sunny, one of those days when it's a pleasure to out walking across fields of wheat and rape.

Oilseed rape does surprisingly well in the Ukraine climate.  Many observers suggested it would not be able to survive the winter but it seems to do OK most years.

Having said that the last really strong winter was 2003/04 so we must be overdue for another one some time soon.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Winter arrived

The seasons in Ukraine go something like summer, summer, summer, autumn, winter, winter, winter, spring, summer.

Winter arrived at the weekend with sleet and snow flurries and temperatures just in to the positive.

Not a bad thing as it will encourage plants to harden off ahead of the real winter and slow down a few pests; namely aphids and sawfly.

Temperatures are forecast to increase over the week which will be welcomed by late emerged oilseed rape and late sown wheat.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Pick 'n' mix metaphors

Plenty of comments on the Tymoshenko case, I particularly like this one from John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com:

“…some democratic lipstick whitewash will need to be applied to the Ukrainian judicial pig in an attempt to convert it into a judicial silk purse…”

Decisive government in action

After creating a grain embargo for the best part of the year then implementing widely criticised export duties, then suggesting they would cancel them, then not cancelling them, then saying they will stay the Ministry of Agriculture finally dropped grain export duties…but not on barley.

Can anyone spot the agenda?

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The people have spoken

Well 339 people have via a Kyiv Post online poll and the majority are in favour of Yulia Tymoshenko doing porridge.

To keep it in to perspective and to remind ourselves why polls are inherently dubious at best; that’s 252 people.

Four people thought seven years was not harsh enough.  Remember Nick Leeson?  He only got 6½ years* and he cost Bearings Bank $1.4 billion!

*He eventually did 3½ years but it was in Singapore

Wheat and oilseed rape

Dry weather during August and September meant plantings progressed unabated but emergence has been slow.

Recent rains will help wheat but probably too late for some of the more backward oilseed rape crops.

Early maize harvest results

Picking up on maize yields from around the regions and they are good.

I hesitate to put an a figure on it as I don’t want to be the one responsible for a bear market and there is still a lot of maize waiting to be cut and the weather forecast isn’t brilliant and the government still has time to cock it up and this is farming.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Progress is now behind you

Ukraine is back in the spotlight this week for all the wrong reasons with the jailing of Yulia Tymoshenko.

For those of you that don’t know, she was leader of the opposition who has just been locked up for seven years for gas deals she presided over when she was in power.

The US said they are deeply disappointed, the EU said they are deeply disappointed, Russia said they are deeply disappointed, the UK is deeply concerned, Canada is troubled, Czech has condemned the outcome, Italy expressed dissapointment, NATO is dissapointed and I’m sure many others will continue to express the depths of their feelings to varying degrees.

Not half as disappointed as Tymoshenko I suspect.

I further suspect that Yanukovych will appear to bow to international pressure and magnanimously release her after a short period but maintain her criminal conviction thereby making her ineligible to hold office and effectively removing any threat to power for the next ten years.

Deeply disappointing indeed.


A three year high of plantings and production has done nothing to put growers off planting with the parts of Ukraine this year literally wall to wall sunflowers.
The price has taken a bit of a tumble in recent weeks with the domestic market dropping 20 to 30%.

Is this a long term trend as a result of oversupply or a temporary blip as crushers are now at capacity?