Russia’s winter grain region drier than last year

MOSCOW, Nov 30 (Reuters) – Russia’s winter grain sowings are in a worse condition than a year ago, but snow and rains may help in December, the head of the weather forecaster Hydrometcentre said on Thursday.

Russia, one of the world’s largest wheat exporters, harvested a record grain crop this year mostly due to favourable weather in spring and early summer.

Of the crop sown this fall for harvest in 2018, five percent is in a bad condition compared with three percent around the same date a year ago, Roman Vilfand, head of Hydrometcentre, told reporters in Moscow.

He blamed a lack of moisture in the soil in some regions after scarce precipitation this autumn.

“The situation (with moisture in the soil) is noticeably worse than a year ago but it can still improve if there is good precipitation, snow,” Vilfand said.

Russian farmers have sown winter grains for next year’s crop on 98 percent of the planned area, or on 17.1 million hectares, compared with 17.3 million hectares a year ago.

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