The Ukraine Report: The country’s export outlook is a toss-up

How much Ukraine will be able to export to European countries is still up in the air. Nevertheless, farmers are still pressing on through the spring planting season.

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

The spring crop planting campaign is underway in Ukraine. Growers have already planted about 8.5 million acres, slightly more than half of the projected area of grains and pulses. Our team decided to go to the crop tour to watch how the sowing season was going. In all regions, planting was delayed by prolonged rains, which forced the producers to start sowing two to three weeks later than planned. Many companies have changed their cropping plans this year.

“Small farmers in our region have reduced corn areas by 99%, although our region has always been focused on this crop. This is driven by the high cost of drying grain last year combined with low grain prices.”

This is Andriy Kovalchuk, the head of the Olga Enterprise in Vinnitsa region. This region is traditionally one of the top three grain producers in Ukraine. Most farmers who have abandoned corn are switching to sunflower and soybeans, the farmer said. However, after last year’s experiment with Sunflower, Olga decided to return to corn and this year it will cover 3000 acres of the company’s total land area of 5000 acres.

“We chose to keep corn regardless of the EU, would close its borders for our grain. It is unknown what will happen by the end of the season, so we are preparing ourselves, getting loans and building more warehouses as we do not know how long the corn will be. But we are confident in ourselves, our country, and we know that we will be able to sell it.”

Victor Romanuk, BASF’s manager in Vinnitsa region, confirms the trend of farmers switching to sunflowers. According to seed companies, almost half of the acreage in the region can be planted with this crop. These are extraordinary numbers for the region.

“Farmers are taking this risk despite the lack of moisture in certain areas. The intensity of specific weeds and diseases. It is potentially a lower yield at higher costs.”

Such a dramatic change in crop rotation will have a negative impact on the overall picture of agriculture in the region and the country as a whole.

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.

Related Stories
While the “I” states are waiting for better weather, corn plantings are picking up in drier corners of farm country.