Dry weather raises fears over wheat planting in Kazakhstan

Dry weather in Kazakhstan, the second-largest wheat exporter in the former Soviet Union, may persist and threaten planting after a record crop.

The country, estimated by the US government to have more than doubled its harvest and raise shipments to an all-time high in 2011-2012, will continue to have dry weather with temperatures warming to above normal in March through May, said Telvent DTN Inc in a forecast.

Most of the wheat is planted in the spring, according to the UN.

“Our lands are not irrigated, we are fully dependent on our continental climate,” said Almaz Zaripov, founder and director of Kazakhstan Food. “If there is a drought, the harvest will be small.”

Lower supply from Kazakhstan may curb a 20% slump in futures in the past year. Prices plunged as global production and inventories jumped to record highs and exports climbed to the second-highest in at least five decades. The May delivery contract rose 0.7% to $6.57 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade at 7:02pm in Singapore.

“There are many indirect signs that Kazakhstan will have a problematic crop in the next season,” said Dmitry Rylko, general director at the Moscow-based Institute of Agricultural Market Studies, known as IKAR, which tracks grain output in the former Soviet Union.

Exports will “most likely” decline in the next season, he said.

Planting in 2012 is unlikely to increase because of shortages of elevators, storage and transportation equipment, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation said.

— Bloomberg


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