News From Ukraine: Corn harvest is seeing progress even in snowy conditions

We want to take the time to check in on farmers in Ukraine amid the ongoing war in the country. Today, we are seeing how harvesters work in snowy fields.

Latifundist Media has partnered with us to provide boots-on-the-ground coverage:

Corn harvesting is in progress in Ukraine. A young farmer, an entrepreneur, and a blogger show how harvesters work in snowy fields.

“I can’t remember us harvesting corn a week before New Year!”

Adverse weather conditions, lack of storage capacity, and a variety of other reasons have delayed corn harvesting this year until winter. And some even left corn in the field for winter.

“The campaign is on and there are significant losses. I’m terrified to think that we will have to harvest it in spring.”

Corn yields are no more than 100 bushels/acre. The grain humidity is very high — 24%. Corn will have to be dried much more. And this is not a rare case.

“We continue to collect corn now. There are various reasons for this: autumn weather was very wet. Also, we have increased the late crop area, so it all shifted the corn harvesting even further. Granaries are overloaded with last year’s harvest and this year’s early crop. There is simply no room for corn!”

Over 30% of Ukrainian corn still remains in the fields. This year’s corn harvest forecast in Ukraine was reduced to a five-year low. To date, 720 million bushels have been produced. For comparison, last year in early December, more than 1.5 billion bushels were harvested.

The war ruined all the logistics chains developed for decades. For example, 37% of exported corn was shipped to China. Now, since it is impossible to export by the sea in full, it remains in warehouses in Ukraine.

“Today, Ukraine fails to fulfill its export targets for objective reasons. We have reached the maximum possible indicators on land, across the border with Poland, Romania, and Hungary. We have reached the maximum possible indicators at the Danube ports. As for the deep-water ports, we have to deal with Russian sabotage, whose forces conduct constant, long-term, and groundless inspections of ships in the sea of Marmara.”

Nearly 100 ships are already lined up at the entrance to the Bosphorus and awaiting inspection. They inspect 3-4 a day.

Russians know perfectly well what they are doing. They tighten the noose around our logistics, blocking sales for our farmers. It is already clear that the export of corn will be 4-5 million tons less than it could be.

Considering the seasonality and the prospects of corn production in much larger volumes in South America, it appears that the price prospects for Ukrainian corn are poor. Production may become unprofitable.

Experts, such as the founder of GROWEX Agro Digital Holding, Bogdan Lukiyanchuk, forecast a decrease in the corn acreage next season.

“Corn left in the field in winter leads to deterioration of soil quality. In spring, after corn is collected, it will be rather difficult to cultivate the soil and sow quickly. If corn is in the field because there is no way to dry it and nowhere to store it, will the farmer want to produce it in the new season? Certainly, no.”

Therefore, agricultural producers will have to consider other crops and solutions for the coming season.

That report was powered by Latifundist Media, with USAID support provided through Agriculture Growing Rural Opportunities (AGRO) Activity implemented in Ukraine by Chemonics International. For more information, visit their website or follow them on social media.