Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Good Harvests Forecast

MOSCOW () -- Early grain harvest forecasts for the former Soviet Union's top three producers point to rising production and stable regional trade patterns this year, industry officials said Friday.

Although crops are still vulnerable to the vagaries of the weather, the Commonwealth of Independent States will have no problem meeting its grain needs this year based on the early outlook for Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

Russia has officially forecast a net grain crop of at least 70 million metric tons this year, little changed from the 69.3 million produced in 1996. Both figures are rather poor, but declining livestock numbers have pushed consumption down.

Ukraine's harvest looks set to recover strongly from last year's disastrous output, according to Western analysts.

Severe drought saw production slump last year to a paltry 25.4 million metric tons, but this year's crop could hit official targets of 35 million, they said.

Drought also plagued Kazakhstan's agricultural sector in 1996, but analysts are looking for a recovery to 14 million metric tons this year from 1996's 11.6 million.