Russia is on track this year to having one of its largest-ever grain harvests.
The US Department of Agriculture estimates grain production in Russia to reach 78 million tonnes – almost an all-time high.
The USDA raised its July forecast by 1.5 million tons. It is also predicting that Russian wheat exports also rise this year by another 1.5 million tons, to 37.5 million.
The figures do not include production in the disputed Crimea region.
The spike in the Russian grain harvest comes as the United States lowers its forecast for the global 2020-21 wheat production season by almost 3.5 million tonnes.
The Russian administration is even more buoyant about its prospects, with its analysts expecting the country’s wheat harvest to grow by at least three million tons.
Igor Pavensky, general director of the Rusagrotrans analytical centre, said Russia could collect 127.5 million tons of grain, which would be one of the country’s largest harvests, second only to the record 135.5 million tons recorded in 2017.
This year’s wheat harvest may total 81 million tons. In 2017, a record 86 million tons of wheat were harvested in Russia.
Mr Pavensky said despite the Covid-19 pandemic, his country – the world’s top grain exporter – had kept its production levels high, with record harvests in the central Russia and Volga regions.
“The US Department of Agriculture clearly underestimates our harvest,” he said.
Mr Pavensky said a record 29.4 million hectares of land have been used for wheat this year – 1.3 million hectares more than was allocated in 2019.
The Russian Ministry of Agriculture said that, as of August 12, grain and leguminous crops have been harvested from 48 per cent of the planted area, which is more than on the same date last year.
The ministry has not changed its estimate for the grain harvest, which stands at 122.5 million tons.