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Russia winter grain plantings drop 63%

08/25/2010 @ 9:53am

DJ Russia Winter Grain Sowing Falls 63% Behind 2009 Levels

DJ - 56 mins ago

MOSCOW (Dow Jones)--The sowing of winter grain, mostly wheat, in Russia has fallen 63% behind levels seen a year ago amid extreme drought, the Agriculture Ministry said Wednesday.

As of Monday, some 356,400 hectares had been sown with winter grain, compared with 964,800 on Aug. 25, 2009, the ministry said on its website.

Some rain has fallen in European Russia in recent days, but more will have to fall to prepare many drier fields for winter sowing, according to experts.

Because of the drought, the yield of Russian grain fields has fallen to 2.06 metric tons per hectare, compared with 2.65 tons a hectare a year earlier, the ministry said.

Drought-stricken Russia may import up to 4 million tons of grain in the 2010-2011 harvest year, possibly including some from the European Union and the U.S., after buying less than 1 million tons in recent years, a major agricultural research firm said last week.

-By William Mauldin of Dow Jones Newswires; +7 495 232-9192, william.mauldin@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 25, 2010 09:54 ET (13:54 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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