Severe drought in eastern and southern regions could shrink Ukraine's 2018 wheat harvest by 15-30 percent below original forecasts, the state hydrometeorological centre said on Friday. Ukraine has seen no substantial rain since April and none is forecast in the next 7 days. High temperatures and a lack of rain could reduce wheat yield, a senior official at the centre, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.
The Ukrainian Agricultural Council, a non-governmental farm lobby, said up to half the grain harvest could be lost in eastern, southern and central regions. "According to the results of a survey conducted by the members of the Ukrainian Agricultural Council, it is known that wheat and barley suffered the most, in some regions of our country there was almost no rain for several months," it said in a statement. It said farmers could also lose about 20 percent of their soybean crop. Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Maksim Martyniuk said last month that the ministry was keeping its 2018 grain crop forecast unchanged at about 60 million tonnes despite poor weather.
Weather forecasters said last month they expected Ukraine's 2018 winter wheat harvest to fall to 24 million tonnes from 25.4 million tonnes in 2017, while the winter barley crop could total 2.5 million tonnes compared with 3.03 million tonnes.