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Large part of Ukrainian corn crop may stay in fields over winter

KYIV, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Significant areas of Ukraine's corn crop may be left to overwinter in the fields due to difficulties with harvesting and fuel shortages, analyst APK-Inform said on Sunday.

Corn can potentially be harvested in winter or early spring, but previously only very small areas of the crop would be left to overwinter if farmers wanted to reduce grain moisture.

Ukraine is a major global corn grower and exporter and harvested almost 42 million tonnes in 2021. This year, analysts say, the harvest could total 27.5 million to 27.9 million tonnes.

APK-Inform said in a report that the prospect for a large part of the corn crop to stay in fields this winter was "becoming more and more possible" due to low domestic prices, difficulties with field work caused by the war and high fuel prices.

The Ukrainian agriculture ministry said on Friday only 50% of the area sown for corn had been harvested as of Nov. 17, or 12.3 million tonnes.

The government has said Ukraine could harvest between 50 million and 52 million tonnes of grain this year, down from a record 86 million tonnes in 2021, because of the loss of land to Russian forces and lower yields.

Farmers have already completed the 2022 wheat and barley harvests, threshing 19.4 million and 5.6 million tonnes respectively. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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