Russian Agriculture Ministry estimates put the total Russian grain harvest at 55m tonnes harvested by September 22, with about one third of cereal crops sown in the Russian Federation for harvest 2010 having died off.

Harvest is not yet complete and Russian news agency, SovEcon, reckons that a further 10m tonnes could be brought in. However, there are doubts about the prospects of all the remaining grain being successfully harvested.

The latest International Grains Council report (23 September) estimated the Russian wheat harvest at 42m tonnes, a full 20m tonnes lower than last year. “We were expecting the crop to be poor in Russia but it is turning out to be a bit worse than we thought,” said IGC senior economist, Amy Reynolds.

Attention is turning to prospects for the next crop. On 23 September, plantings were 28% down compared with the same date last year, however the drilling window runs until the end of October.

Although there has been some rain, most regions are still very dry and aside from this, an important consideration is how the 2011 harvest will be funded given that income from the current one will be well down.