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Poor weather conditions have led to delays in grain and oilseed harvesting in Russia, according to an update by the country’s agriculture ministry reported by AgriCensus.

Some regions had been hit by delays due to rainfall during late-running crop harvesting, while other areas were still being affected by rain, snow or ice at the time of the 21 December report.

Local experts were quoted as saying that farmers might lose a substantial amount of sunflower production with rain expected to affect the quality of crops still to be harvested.

However, forecasts for the gross sunflower harvest remained above the previous year’s level, according to the report, with a bigger harvest expected.

“I think we will collect less than originally planned. Everyone hoped for 16.5-17M tonnes – there were higher estimates, but most likely it will be 16M tonnes,” Russian Grain Union vice president Alexander Korbut was quoted as saying.

In some regions seed germination and high humidity had been recorded, the report said, with the former leading to a loss of quality and a decrease in oil content, which would lead to a reduced crop volume. Problems with drying had also been reported.

The sunflower harvest had advanced by 2.5% with 86% of the plan completed at the time of the report, amounting to 8.6M ha and 15.5M tonnes, while the average yield of 1.79 tonnes/ha was 9% above the previous year’s level.

Although corn yields increased from 5.5 tonnes/ha to 6 tonnes/ha, the pace of the harvest at the time of the report meant that the harvest was 2.3M tonnes behind the volume collected at the same point in 2021.

Meanwhile, the soyabean harvest had been slower at the time of the report, with progress of 1% and field works completed on 95% of the plan – yielding 6.28M tonnes from 3.3M ha.