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Similar spring planting area expected in Ukraine compared to previous year – Solskyi

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Ukraine expects its 2024 spring planting area to be the same as last year (12,75 mln ha), though it could see a slight decrease in the worst case scenario, the Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Mykola Solskyi told Reuters.

“I don’t expect any drastic changes in terms of sowing area. If the sowing area is smaller, it will be a very insignificant decrease,” Solsky said.

As the minister noted, farmers had planted a smaller area of winter wheat last autumn due to poor weather. In particular, Ukraine sowed 4.2 mln ha of winter wheat for the 2024 harvest versus around 4.4 mln ha a year earlier.

“There will definitely be no increase in the overall sowing area. I admit its reduction, and the question immediately arises what to sow then? We have three options only – sunflower seed, soybean and corn,” Solskyi forecasted.

He said farmers would try to increase the area planted to soybean, but a lack of high-quality soybean seeds could prove a serious obstacle.  He also noted that relatively low sunflower seed prices and a mandatory crop rotation would prevent a future increase in the area sown to the oilseed.

Besides, M. Solskyi added, that winter wheat had survived the winter so far without serious damage, but the quality of the future harvest was unclear. In his opinion, farmers’ shortage of funds caused by the war and difficulties with exports had forced them to save money and use lower-quality wheat seed.

“There is one problem –it seems to me that our seeds are getting worse and worse. It seems to me that farmers are saving money on winter wheat seeds, and this is one of the reasons for the worse quality of wheat,” Solskyi said.

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