Bad July weather may hit Russia's 2020 grain crop forecast - weather service

MOSCOW, July 16 (Reuters) - Russia saw unfavourable weather in the first half of July for its spring grains and may face a downgrade of its 2020 grain harvest estimates, Roman Vilfand, head of science at Russia's Hydrometcentre, said on Thursday.

Russia, the world's second largest wheat exporter after the European Union, is harvesting it crop amid dry weather in some regions and rains in others - both in wrong time for development of the sowings.

"The situation in the first half of July was difficult, far more difficult than in June," Vilfand told reporters in Moscow. "It is possible that there will be some adjustments, maybe a reduction in (estimates) of the crop."

Russia is still on track to harvest a large grain crop this year, equal to an average crop of recent years, Vilfand said. He did not provide the exact number.

Russia's agriculture ministry on July 10 kept its forecast for the 2020 grain harvest unchanged - at 122.5 million tonnes, including 75 million tonnes of wheat.

IKAR and SovEcon, the two leading agriculture consultancies in Moscow, downgraded their estimates for wheat earlier this week due to low yields in southern regions - to 76.5 million tonnes and 79.7 million tonnes, respectively. (Reporting by Polina Devitt and Olga Popova; writing by Polina Devitt; editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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