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Ukraine 2023 winter wheat sowing 87% complete, acreage seen falling - ministry

KYIV, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Ukrainian farms have sown 3.5 million hectares of winter wheat as of Nov. 1, or 87% of the expected area, compared with 6.1 million hectares sown on the same date in 2021, agriculture ministry data showed on Tuesday.

Ukraine sowed more than 6 million hectares of winter wheat for the 2022 harvest, but a large area has been occupied by Russian forces since they invaded Ukraine in February and only 4.6 million hectares were harvested.

Deputy agriculture minister Taras Vysotskiy told Reuters last month that the ministry was keeping its forecast for the winter wheat sowing area for the 2023 harvest unchanged at 3.8 million hectares despite a delay caused by unfavourable weather.

Ukraine traditionally plants winter wheat which accounts more than 95% of overall wheat output. In 2022, Ukraine harvested around 19 million tonnes of wheat.

Ukrainian state weather forecasters said last month that less than 30% of the winter grain crop area for the 2023 harvest had been sown at optimal times because of poor weather, and this was significantly less than in previous years.

They also said that crops sown in October could enter the winter in the initial stages of development, leaving them weakened and vulnerable to adverse winter conditions.

The ministry data also showed that farmers had sown 507,000 hectares of winter barley, or 75% of the forecast.

It said four regions had already completed winter sowing. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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