Ukraine 2014 corn planting 86 percent complete

KIEV (Reuters) — Ukraine’s Agriculture ministry on Tuesday dispelled fears of a sharp decrease in Ukrainian 2014 maize sowing area, saying farms have sown 10.9 million acres of corn, or 86 percent of the expected area, as of May 13.

The ministry said in a statement farms plan to sow a total of 12.7 million acres of corn this year compared with 11.9 million acres in 2013.

Some analysts said in March that up to 20 percent of Ukrainian arable land might not be sown this year, mainly because of an absence of financing in connection with the country’s economic and political difficulties.

They said farmers were likely to reduce the area under corn and would prefer to sow barley.

Ukraine’s corn crop is expected to slump almost 20 percent this year, a Reuters poll showed last week, as farmers from the major global exporter feel the impact of reduced financing.

The survey of 11 traders and analysts produced a median forecast of 25 million tonnes for this year’s corn crop, down 19.1 percent from last year’s record 30.9 million.

Analysts said that this year’s harvested area could fall to 11.6 million acres, but some traders expect that then area will exceed 12.4 million acres.

“Weather is very good. Fields got enough rain in May and farms could bring another great harvest this year,” a large foreign trader said.

Weather conditions in late April and early May featured moderate air temperatures and small but frequent rains, UkrAgroConsult agriculture consultancy said in a report, which “promoted good growth and development of spring crops.”

“Cool spring weather with smoothly growing temperatures and good moisture supply for crops promoted good spring tillering,” it said.

The ministry said farms had sown a total of 17.8 million acres of spring crops so far, 87 percent of the forecast.