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UPDATE 2-Russia's 2022 wheat crop to rise y/y - Sovecon

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MOSCOW, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Russia may increase its wheat crop to 80.7 million tonnes in 2022 from 75.5 million tonnes in 2021 due to good weather conditions for winter wheat, Sovecon, one of the leading agriculture consultancies in Moscow, said in a note on Monday.

Russia is the world's largest wheat exporter, supplying it mainly to the Middle East and Africa. It competes with the European Union and Ukraine among others in those markets.

"Russian farmers have been facing a lot of challenges recently - the state regulation of the market, rallying prices for inputs and dry weather in the second half of summer," Andrey Sizov, the head of Sovecon, said in the note.

"At least the weather has started to cooperate - ample rains in early autumn helped moisture reserves all over the country. On average, winter wheat now is in the best shape seen for several years," he added.

Sovecon expects Russia's 2022 total sowing area with winter and spring wheat to remain stable year on year - at 28.7 million hectares.

Winter wheat, sown in autumn for harvesting in summer, typically accounts for 70% of Russia's crop, brings a higher yield than the spring planted crop and is less vulnerable to adverse weather.

Russian farmers had sown winter grains on 15.3 million hectares for next year's crop, down from 16.6 million hectares at the same date a year ago, according to the agriculture ministry. There is no publicly available data just for winter wheat.

The lower sowing area for winter wheat is expected to be offset by a substantially lower winter-kill in December-February, Sovecon said.

The sowing area for spring wheat, however, could decline due to smaller reseeding after winter and the state export tax prompting some farmers to switch to other crops or choose to leave fields fallow, Sovecon said. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; editing by David Evans)

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