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Dry Weather Threatens Russia's Winter Wheat Crop: AHDB

Dry weather conditions in key winter wheat-growing regions of Russia are raising concerns about potential crop damage and supporting global wheat prices, as reported by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

AHDB highlights the importance of Russia's winter wheat crop, which historically accounts for over 70% of the country's total wheat production. Southern Russia and the Northern Caucasus regions are the primary production areas. While current projections forecast another large Russian wheat crop in 2024, dry weather conditions pose a significant risk.

"After below-average rainfall in March, the key areas remained dryer than usual this month," the AHDB report states. "Continued dry weather poses a risk to the current large crop projections, and SovEcon reports that the coming weeks are important."

Weather forecasts for the next week indicate only limited rainfall for the main winter wheat areas, further raising concerns about the potential impact on crop yields. The tight balance between global grain production and demand, as predicted by the International Grains Council (IGC), amplifies the sensitivity of wheat prices to any potential production shortfalls.

"The IGC already expects major exporters' wheat stocks to tighten," the report notes. "So, any cuts to wheat crop sizes for major exporters, such as Russia, could exacerbate this situation and offer more support to prices."

While the dry weather in Russia is currently supporting wheat prices, the AHDB report emphasizes the importance of monitoring weather forecasts. Timely rainfall in Russia and other major wheat-producing regions, such as the United States, could alleviate concerns and lead to price softening.

The upcoming release of the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) first predictions of global supply and demand for the 2024/25 marketing year on May 10 will also be a crucial factor in shaping market sentiment and influencing wheat prices in the coming months.