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Ukraine winter wheat sowing area seen smaller than expected -consultancy

KYIV, Sept 21 (Reuters) - The area sown to winter wheat for 2023 could total around 3.4 million hectares, 10.5% less than the agriculture minister expected in late August, a report of Barva Invest consultancy showed on Wednesday.

Ukraine's Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky said last month the winter wheat area sown for the 2023 harvest would fall by at least 20% from 2022, to around 3.8 million hectares, due to the Russian invasion.

Ukraine sowed more than 6 million hectares of winter wheat for the 2022 harvest, but a large area was occupied during the invasion and only around 4.6 million hectares could be harvested in Ukrainian-controlled territory, he said.

Farmers have already completed the 2022 wheat harvest, threshing around 19 million tonnes of wheat in bunker weight. Ukraine, a global major wheat grower and exporter, harvested 32.2 million tonnes of wheat in 2021.

A possible decrease in the sowing area could cause a fall in the 2023 wheat harvest to 16-18 million tonnes, first deputy agriculture minister Taras Vysotskyi said this week.

Ukrainian agriculture officials have said the area under winter wheat could fall by at least 20% as farmers prefer to sow oilseeds, which are more expensive and have stable export demand. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk Editing by Gareth Jones)

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