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Russia's Grain Union flags possibility of record grain crop in 2019

MOSCOW, March 28 (Reuters) - Russia's 2019 grain crop could exceed 2017's record harvest of 135.5 million tonnes if the weather remains favourable, Arkady Zlochevsky, head of the Russian Grain Union, told reporters in Moscow on Thursday.

* The Union, a non-governmental farmers' lobby group, currently sees this only as a scenario, as Russia is still sowing its spring grains

* Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, usually starts grain harvesting in late June or early July

* Zlochevsky says up to 5-6 percent of winter grains could be in poor condition after winter, which he adds is a standard level

* He also expects the area of spring grain sowings to be 100,000 hectares larger this year than a year ago

* According to his information, analysts currently expect Russia's 2019 grain crop to be in a range of 119 million to 127 million tonnes, but Zlochevsky thinks that these estimates are too low

* If Russia harvests a record grain crop this year, its 2019/20 exports will also exceed the previous record of 52.4 million tonnes reached in the 2017/18 marketing year, he adds

* Zlochevsky currently expects Russia to export 45-47 million tonnes of grain, including 37 million tonnes of wheat, in the current 2018/19 season which lasts until June 30 (Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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