Dry weather complicates winter grain sowing in Russia, Ukraine for 2nd year in a row

By Polina Devitt and Pavel Polityuk

MOSCOW/KYIV, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Dry weather in Ukraine has delayed the sowing of winter grains for the 2021 crop in one of the top Black Sea grain exporters, while neighbour Russia also needs rain, although sowing there is running ahead of the last year's pace, analysts said.

The situation is reminiscent of last autumn, when farmers in Ukraine and Russia sowed winter grains in dry soil. Favourable winter weather then improved moisture reserves.

Farmers in Ukraine are yet to start sowing due to dry weather, according to its economy ministry, which is in charge of the agriculture sector. Ukraine had sown 5% of the planned area around the same date a year ago.

This year's campaign in Ukraine is expected to start in the second half of September, still within an optimal timeframe.

Russian farmers have already sown winter grains on 35% of the planned area, or on 6.3 million hectares, its agriculture ministry said.

"There are some serious concerns due to dry weather," a farmer in Russia's south said. Moisture reserves are low in the soil of Russia's main wheat-producing and exporting areas - Krasnodar, Rostov and Stavropol, he added.

Those three regions still have plenty of time for the rain to arrive, and the optimal sowing timing there is yet to come, said Dmitry Rylko, the head of agriculture consultancy IKAR.

The situation is more complicated in the northern part of the southern region and south-eastern part of the Volga region as there is also a lack of moisture in soil, Rylko said, adding that could still be fixed by rain and favourable winter weather.

"There is nothing fatal in this as of yet," he added. (Reporting by Polina Devitt and Pavel Polityuk; editing by Mark Potter)

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