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Arctic blast pounding Russian wheat

Jeff Caldwell 02/01/2012 @ 11:08am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

The major factor driving the wheat trade higher this week is half the world away from the wheat pits in Chicago and Kansas City.

Arctic air is slamming much of the wheat-growing areas of Ukraine and central Russia, and the spots where there's not quite enough snow cover to insulate the region's winter wheat and barley are starting to suffer from winterkill, says MDA EarthSat Weather senior ag meteorologist Don Keeney.

"Snow cover is sufficient in many areas to insulate and protect the crops from damage," he says. "However, snow cover is a bit thin in far southeastern Ukraine and southern Russia, and we estimate about 15% of the winter wheat and 20% of the winter barley will suffer from winterkill damage."

Ordinarily, winterkill isn't as much of a problem in that region, Keeney says. But, a dry fall there led to poor germination and crop establishment, which could amplify the harmful effects of the current Arctic blast. And that makes replanting likely once winter breaks this spring.

"A very dry fall in much of Ukraine and western Russia prevented germination and proper establishment on 30-40% of the planted acreage," says Keeney.

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With South America's Decision NOT to plant wheat.. 02/10/2012 @ 8:56am All of these factors put together seem to point to a huge year for American Wheat Farmers. Of course, we still have our own weather issues ahead of us, but with that mitigated, could this be a "break through" year for Wheat Producers?

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This is adding to an already volatile situation in 02/03/2012 @ 8:25am Last week Eugenia Tymoshenko testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the deteriorating Political Situation in Ukraine. The "Deal" for Fuel from Russia that got her mother, Pro-West Orange Revolution Leader Yulia Tymoshenko and others imprisoned, is crumbling without anything on the table to replace it. This once fast-growing Democratic former SSR was once on a fast track for becoming part of the EU. All this is off the table. People are in the streets. Freedom of the Press is being squelched. And at the end of yesterday, it was reported the Yanukovych Regime was seriously censoring the Internet and Social Networks, even seizing servers and operations of ISP's. Add the problems because of depleted soil, soil polluted by Soviet Industrialization and Chernobyl's meltdown, this Arctic blast could create a humanitarian emergency for these brave, but already beleaguered people. Secretary of State Clinton is making efforts on behalf of Madame Tymoshenko, as is the EU and other western powers, but Ukraine is a nation of Farmers, and is my hope the Farmers of this nation will find ways to reach out with support for Ukraine during this troubled time.

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