Farmers in Ukraine are expected to reduce the area planted with corn but continue to increase oilseed planting, particularly soyabeans, according to an Ukrainian agriculture ministry survey reported by AgriCensus.

According to the survey, up to 70% of farmers interviewed planned to increase their soyabean planted area, which was around a 21% increase compared with last year’s spring campaign.

Last year’s total soyabean plantings of 1.8M ha were an almost 19% increase compared with the previous year, according to official agriculture ministry data.

In addition to soyabeans, farmers continued to prioritise the entire oilseeds sector, with expectations that this year’s oilseed planted area would increase by 11% year on year, the 13 February report said.

Farmers said they were also considering increasing spring rapeseed, barley and wheat planted areas by 24%, 7% and 2% respectively.

Meanwhile, a 9% drop in corn planted area was forecast in 2024 due to lower prices for the commodity.

“Now corn cultivation is unprofitable, wheat is somewhere around zero and oil crops profit is at low levels,” a local analyst was quoted as saying.

At the time of the report, Ukrainian farmers had not decided if they would cut the sunflowerseed planted area.

In the 2023 spring campaign, the sunflowerseed planted area totalled 5.3M ha, which was a 6% drop compared to the previous year.

Ukraine was still unable to continue planting on up to 25% of its territories still under Russian occupation or too close to the front lines, the report said.

Against this backdrop, the Ukrainian government was urging Polish leaders to take action against local farmers after they stopped three trucks carrying inbound Ukrainian grain at a border checkpoint on 11 February and dumped it onto the motorway, World Grain reported.

The action was taken by the Polish farmers following the government’s decision to allow imports of cheaper Ukrainian grain, which they claim had led to reduced profits, the 13 February report said.

Part of a 30-day strike in protest against European Union (EU) agricultural policies, the incident – which took place near the Yahodyn-Dorohusk checkpoint – was criticised by the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

“The spoiling of Ukrainian grain on the Polish border is unacceptable,” Kuleba wrote on X, previously known as Twitter.

“Any farmer should know how much hard work it takes to produce grain, especially during wartime. For the sake of friendly Ukrainian-Polish relations, the perpetrators must be held to account.”

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 22 February 2022, Ukrainian farmers have faced difficulty in producing and exporting grain and oilseeds and attempts have been made to export more via rail and truck to counter transport difficulties via the Black Sea.

Poland had been one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies during the war, the report said.

In statement reported by Reuters, Poland’s minister of agriculture Czeslaw Sikierski apologised on behalf of Polish farmers and asked for understanding of their “exceptionally difficult situation”.