News From Ukraine: Farmers continue to harvest amid a plethora of challenges
We want to take the time to check in on farmers in Ukraine as harvest in the country continues. We are learning more about the logistics issues, heat waves, and lack of inputs hindering producers, and battles continue to wage in farmer’s fields
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The harvest in Ukraine continues. As of the end of August, farmers have collected 918 million bushels of grain. Harvesting of grain in the legume crops was carried out on an area of 16 million acres, 59 percent of the planned area, with a yield of 70 bushels per acre. This year’s grain harvest will be enough for domestic consumption and export, but the percentage of crop failure will be significant, according to Taras Vysotskyi, the first Deputy of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine.
“So when we compare the previous year, we are around 35 percent less of final harvest, about 20 percent less is due to the occupation, and about 10 to 15 percent less due to the problems created by the war, including logistics deficit of input suppliers and others,” said Vysotskyi.
He announced that there are also other challenges faced by agricultural producers.
“First of all, of course, the expensive fuel keeps one of the main problems and expensive logistics. In the fields where there are military battles, of course, it’s also dangerous, but in most cases, Ukrainian farmers have been able to harvest without some critical challenges,” Vysotskyi said.
At the same time, Europe is facing an abnormal heat wave, the worst in the last 500 years. Drought threatens significant areas of agricultural production. Deficit precipitation is observed in Ukraine as well. According to forecasts, normal rain is expected until the end of Fall, but the situation in the fields is not critical.
“Fortunately, in our case, most of the crops have not been damaged and as a result, the final yield level is not going to be decreased,” said Vysotskyi.
In some regions of Ukraine, sunflower harvesting has already begun - corn is next.
Mykhailo Petrov, the Director of one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural enterprises, Kernel, told us about the profitability of crop production this year. He noted that corn was a very profitable crop until this season.
“This year, this culture is unprofitable. We even have yields up to 10 tons per hectare. We lost significant money on logistic costs,” said Petrov.
There is a good chance storage capacity shortages and the cost of natural gas this season will cause some businesses to leave corn in the field until spring. In addition, the situation in the south of the country adds to the constant tension.
“Despite the United Nations agreement of the unblocking of seaports, each day we expect new missile attacks on our seaports and infrastructure facilities,” Petrov said.
Ukrainian farmers continue harvesting in the free parts of the country, while the army fights the invader to return the temporarily occupied lands.