Ukraine corn harvest declines, smaller corn area for 2023 - minister

Production could fall from 41.9 million to 22-23 million tonnes
calendar icon 27 December 2022
clock icon 3 minute read

Ukraine's corn production could fall to 22-23 million tonnes this year from 41.9 million in 2021 because of a reduction in the harvested area caused by Russia's invasion, Reuters reported, citing Ukraine's agriculture minister.

Russia invaded Ukraine in late February and swathes of land in the east, south and north of the country were occupied or damaged by hostilities.

"It would be good if we harvest 22 to 23 million tonnes (of corn),"Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky, whose country is a major global exporter of corn, told Reuters in an interview.

The ministry in September, forecast the 2022 corn crop at 25 million to 27 million tonnes.

Solsky said farmers, facing a lack of fuel and funds, had left a lot of corn in their fields, and these areas could be harvested by spring.

"It means less volume and worse grain quality," he said.

Ukraine has already completed the 2022 wheat and barley harvest, threshing 19.4 million and 5.6 million tonnes respectively.

Farmers had also harvested 18.4 million tonnes of corn from 70% of the expected area with a yield of 6.27 tonnes per hectare as of Dec. 15, according to agriculture ministry data.

The overall grain harvest totalled almost 45 million tonnes as of Dec. 15 and the ministry, which has forecast a total harvest of 51 million tonnes, has said 49.2 million tonnes could potentially be exported, depending on the logistical situation.

The exports could include 16.3 million tonnes of wheat, it said.

Ukraine's exports have fallen significantly so far this season due to the war and Russian blockades of Ukrainian seaports.

Three leading Ukrainian Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.


Solsky said a large area of non-harvested corn would prevent farmers from sowing corn again on these fields, with sunflower a possible replacement crop next spring.

"Harvesting corn in winter means that the fields will not be ready for the spring sowing of corn and this is another reason why there will be less corn. The fields will be sown with something else," he said.

"I think there will be millions more hectares of sunflower planting. First and foremost, by reducing corn crops."

He said Ukraine, the world's major sunflower oil maker and exporter in peacetime, would export a "few million" tonnes of sunseed this season, leaving local sunoil refineries without raw materials.

Ukraine traditionally processes the lion's share of its sunseed output domestically, exporting a very insignificant amount of the commodity.

Ukraine had harvested 10.1 million tonnes of sunseed from 4.6 million hectares, or from 98% of the expected area, as of mid-December. The sunseed harvest totalled 16.38 million tonnes in 2021.

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