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Russia's winter grain sowings in better condition vs last year - weather forecaster

MOSCOW, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Russia's winter grain sowings are in a better condition than at the same time a year ago and compared with the average for the last couple of years, an official at the Hydrometcentre weather forecasting service told Reuters.

Russia and Ukraine, major global wheat exporters via the Black and Azov seas, sowed winter grains for the 2020 crop this autumn in dry weather, but subsequent rains and warm weather improved the prospects for next year's harvest.

Among winter grain sowings, 4% are classed as in a bad condition compared with 8% around the same date a year ago, Anna Strashnaya, a senior researcher at Hydrometcentre, said.

"The sowings will enter this winter in better condition than average and in a much better condition than a year ago," she added.

Russian farmers have sown winter grains for next year's crop on 104% of the originally planned area, some 18.2 million hectares compared with 17.6 million hectares a year ago.

The level of moisture in soil is good in general, except some parts of the southern regions, which are still sowing, Strashnaya said. About 5% of sowings are currently in bad condition in Russia's south, where the main wheat producing and exporting regions are located.

The lack of snow in the central regions has not had any negative effect on sowings as the weather is still warm for this part of the season, and the snow is expected to arrive this weekend, Strashnaya added. (Reporting by Olga Popova; Writing by Polina Devitt; Editing by Mark Potter)

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