Russia is actively fining agri businesses for violations of land legislation, namely not farming land and allowing it to fall into disrepair.
Last week two business in Penza and Voronezh were fined 400,000 roubles ($6,800) each for land that was described as “completely overgrown with trees and shrubs” and “100% weeds (couch grass, wormwood) and wood vegetation”.
Russia is bringing land back into productive use to support food production as well as targeting land that is not being farmed as part of their import substitution policy.
Russian farmers have purchased 20% more fertilizer than the same point last year prompting many analysts to suggest this will support another bumper harvest in 2017.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture the price of urea and ammonium nitrate is down 9% and 11% so it might just be farmers are taking advantage and stockpiling early.
Kazakhstan plan to reduce the wheat crop by more than two million hectares according to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture (normally harvest around 12mha of wheat each year).
Kazakhstan are looking to increase the value of exports by adding value to commodities by processing them. Part of that policy is to grow crops other than wheat but this has been deride in some quarters as wheat exports have been one of the success stories in the past.
According to the Deputy Minister, reduction of the planted areas will not mean a drop in grain production as farmers will harvest even larger volumes of high-quality grain throughout a smaller areas. No problem then.
USDA have just dropped their 2016 wheat production figures for Kazakhstan to 15mmt, down from an earlier forecast of 16.5mmt on the back of government statistics.
USDA have revised upwards Ukraine’s grain exports forecast for 2016/17 by 1.5mmt, to 40.4mmt on the back of 800kmt more wheat and 700kmt more corn.
The very low temperatures in the Black Sea last week appear to have passed with the rest of this week looking benign from a crops perspective.
It’s too earlier to assess the impact of the cold weather but there are certainly some areas of southern Ukraine and Russia that had thin or no snow cover during periods of very low temperatures.
We will be carrying out our independent crop condition assessments in March, I’ll be publishing details on how to subscribe and access our findings shortly.