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Ukrainian winter wheat sowing 9% complete, says agriculture ministry

KYIV, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Ukrainian farms in all government-controlled regions have started sowing winter wheat for the 2023 harvest, seeding 364,000 hectares, or 9% of the expected area, the agriculture ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry did not provide a forecast, although Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky told Reuters last month that the area could fall to 3.8 million hectares from 4.6 million a year earlier due to the Russian invasion.

The minister said Ukraine's winter barley sowing area for the 2023 harvest could also fall by 20% from last year, while the winter rapeseed area would remain unchanged.

A senior agriculture official said this month the Ukrainian army's successes in recapturing a significant swathe of land in the northeast and the south of Ukraine, could lead to improved forecasts for the winter sowing area for the 2023 grain crop.

The ministry said in a statement that farmers had already sown 32,000 hectares of winter barley, or 5% of the expected area, and 15,300 hectares of rye, or 18% of the forecast.

It also said farmers had sown 948,000 hectares of winter rape, 98% of the expected sowing area.

Ukraine harvested 19 million tonnes of wheat this year compared with around 32.2 million tonnes in 2021. The sharp decline was the result of hostilities in many regions and the occupation of large areas by Russian forces. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk Editing by Gareth Jones)

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