The Ukrainian planting season is expected to be heavily impacted by the ongoing Russian invasion of the country, AgriCensus wrote.
However, the outlook is likely to change dramatically depending on how the situation develops – with spring crops particular challenging, according to the 16 March report.
The scale of the reduction was likely to be a critical factor in pricing of crops over the coming weeks and months, the report said.
While the ability of Ukraine's farmers to sow spring crops in the coming weeks was likely to provide the next major pricing landmark, year-round access was vital in order to tend, apply inputs, harvest and prepare the soil for the next harvest, AgriCensus wrote.
Although around 80% of the country’s farmers had enough supplies of inputs, according to trade lobby the Ukrainian Grain Association, a shortage of oil – specifically diesel – was one of the main problems facing the sector.
Another concern was that farmers might not be able to reach all the planted areas amid active conflict zones or in land currently occupied by the Russian army, the report said.
With corn, sunflower, soyabean and spring rapeseed planting usually starting at the end of April and running through to June, there was still some room to manage the planting - and crucially time to carry out planting should the war come to an end, AgriCensus wrote.
However, the ongoing conflict meant that that even for the areas currently unaffected by war, it was uncertain how much of the region could carry out any planting, the report said.
Currently, the regions most affected by fighting are the land around Kyiv, Sumy, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Chernihiv, where Russian troops are actively engaged in military operations against defending Ukrainian forces, according to the report.
In the worst-case scenario, where all the impacted areas wouldn't be available to complete spring sowing – the total volume could amount to 36% of total corn production, 48% for spring barley, 24% for soyabeans and 44% for sunflower, AgriCensus wrote.
While there was currently no official updated forecast from the Ukrainian government, local media had reported deputy agriculture minister Taras Vysotskiy as saying that spring sowings would be completed on 50% of the planned areas.
However, it is not yet clear if Ukrainian farmers will be able to plant an additional 20% of the area, and around 30% of spring plantings are expected to be lost for the 2022/23 campaign, according to the report.
Meanwhile, farmers in the region around the city of Lviv in western Ukraine – an area relatively unscathed by the Russian invasion to date – are expected to increase the planted area for agricultural produce this year, according to an AgriCensus report on 17 March.
According to data from the Department of Agro-Industrial Development of the Lviv Military Administration, sown areas under spring grains, legumes and oilseeds in 2022 will increase by at least 2%, with the total area including winter crops reaching 706,300 ha.
Last year’s gross grain and legume harvest in the Lviv region amounted to 1.8M tonnes and 540,000 tonnes of oilseeds.
“This year, the farmers of the Lviv region will do their best to achieve last year's grain and oilseeds harvest. But even if the average yield is lower, we will definitely be able to satisfy the domestic need,” Tatyana Getma, director of the Department of Agro-Industrial Development of the Lviv Military Administration, told AgriCensus.
However, the most pressing issue was the question of fuel supply – with only limited physical volumes available and a lack of options to buy diesel – along with the supply of fertilisers, plant protection products and seeds, the report said.
In the 2021/22 marketing year, Ukraine was one of the main global grain suppliers and produced a record crop of 106M tonnes, including 84M tonnes of grains and legumes and 22.6M tonnes of oilseeds.