Agritel sees 2020 Russian wheat crop at 77.5 mln tonnes

PARIS, June 22 (Reuters) - The wheat harvest in Russia, the world's biggest exporter of the cereal, is set to reach 77.5 million tonnes this year, up 4% on 2019 and the second largest crop on record despite varied results throughout the country, French consultancy Agritel said.

The wheat crop estimate was higher than Russia's agriculture ministry's forecast, but lower than ones from consultancies including IKAR which raised its forecast to 79.5 million tonnes on Monday from a previously expected 78.5 million.

"Despite the prolonged drought in spring and the winter without snow, the winter wheat potential in Russia is estimated above last year," Agritel said in a note on Monday.

"The significant losses in Stavropol territory and the damages in Krasnodar district and Rostov region should be partly offset by the very promising harvest in central parts of wheat-producing regions, as well as in the Volga region where the conditions remain excellent."

Russia is expected to start wheat harvesting in one or two weeks.

Agritel said it expected the average yield for winter wheat in Russia to reach 3.55 tonnes per hectare (t/ha), down 1.6% compared to the five-year average but the fall would be compensated by a rise in the harvested area.

The consultancy estimated the Russian winter wheat production at 56.8 million tonnes, up 6.5% on last year.

For spring wheat, it projected a yield of 1.72 t/ha on the basis of a 10-year trend, down 3% from last year, with production pegged at 20.7 million tonnes, down 1.9 % compared to 2019.

Agritel said its crop forecasts could be adjusted in the next weeks, according to spring wheat conditions.

Its Russian estimates, which include Crimea, were based on discussions with local analysts, traders, agri-holdings, and farmers. (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; editing by David Evans)

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