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Scorching Ukraine heat may cut corn crop by around 10 percent

KIEV - Excessively hot and dry weather across most of Ukraine is likely to reduce the corn harvest by at least 1 million tonnes and raises concerns about next year's rapeseed crop, weather forecasters and traders said on Tuesday.

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A woman smokes as she rests near a fountain on a hot summer day in central Kiev, Ukraine, Aug. 10. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

KIEV - Excessively hot and dry weather across most of  Ukraine is likely to reduce the corn harvest by at least 1 million tonnes and raises concerns about next year's rapeseed crop, weather forecasters and traders said on Tuesday.

Maize output in Ukraine, the world's fifth largest grower in 2015, could fall to no more than 23 million tonnes this year from the planned 24 million tonnes, traders said.

"This severe heat could cut the yield of maize by 5 to 20 percent, but most likely we will lose about 10 percent of the productivity or at least 1 million tonnes of grain," a large foreign trader said.

"The heat burns maize fields. I was on fields last week and the situation was not so serious as it is now," another trader said.

Traders and forecasters noted that continued heat could cause an even higher fall in output.

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"About 10 to 15 percent of maize fields could be cut for fodder as there is no reason to thresh it," said Tetyana Adamenko, the head of the agriculture department for the state weather centre.

Ukraine's agriculture ministry could not be reached for comment. Last month it forecast that the 2015 maize crop could total around 26 million tonnes. Ukraine harvested 28.5 million tonnes of maize in 2014.

Traders said that a drop in output was unlikely to affect Ukrainian maize exports this season due to a high ending stocks and a fall in domestic consumption due to the conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the east.

They said Ukraine is able to ship abroad at least 15-16 million tonnes of maize this season.

Forecasters say that the dry and hot weather has created unfavourable conditions for winter rapeseed sowing which must be completed by the end of August.

"If they miss these optimum terms (for sowing) it will be unclear whether it worth sowing this commodity this year," Adamenko said.

Ukrainian rapeseed output is likely to decrease sharply this year due to poor weather during the sowing last autumn.

Ukraine could harvest 1.86 million tonnes of rapeseed this year compared with the previous estimate of 1.93 million tonnes and versus the 2.2 million tonnes harvested in 2014, according to UkrAgroConsult consultancy.

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Rapeseed exports are likely to fall by 17.6 percent to 1.58 million tonnes in the 2015/16 season due to a smaller harvest, it said. 

Related Topics: UKRAINECORNCROPS
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