Ukrainian farmers have sown nearly 3 million hectares of winter crops as of Oct. 3, even as Russia's full-scale invasion has devastated arable land and Russian occupation has limited access to fields.
Meanwhile, Russia’s de facto blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and attacks on port facilities on the Danube River have depleted export volumes significantly.
By the start of October, farmers had sown 2.992 million hectares, including 1.7 million hectares of winter wheat, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement on its website.
Winter wheat is the main winter crop in Ukraine, accounting for about 97 percent of Ukraine's total wheat production.
The area sown also included 1.087 million hectares of rapeseed, 109,000 hectares of barley, and 53,600 hectares of rye, according to Agriculture Ministry data.
Farmers in Ukraine's northeastern Sumy Oblast have sown the most winter grain, completing 87% of their forecast, while all oblasts have nearly finalized rapeseed sowing, the ministry said.
Because of favorable weather conditions, the Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry now expects Ukraine to harvest 79.1 million tons of grain and oilseed in 2023, surpassing last season's harvest of 76.8 million metric tons.
The prediction is still behind 2021’s record result of 86 million metric tons.
Preliminary estimates place the wheat harvest at 21.7 million metric tons, barley at 5.7 million metric tons, and corn at 28.5 million metric tons.
Oilseed production could reach 21.6 million metric tons, while the sunflower harvest may hit 13 million metric tons and soybean production could reach 4.6 million metric tons.
Agricultural workers are only able to utilize 10.895 million hectares of land for spring and winter grains, which is 980,000 hectares less than last year.
The main issue plaguing farmers, however, is the export of their goods, brought on by Russia's continued Black Sea blockade and attacks on port infrastructure.
Last month, only 3.64 million metric tons of agricultural products crossed the border, down from 6.87 million metric tons in the same period last year, according to Agriculture Ministry data.
On Oct. 1, Ukraine exported 7,000 metric tons of grain, compared with 297,000 metric tons a year ago.
The Ukraine Grain Association (UGA) predicted last month that exports for the 2023/24 marketing year could potentially reach nearly 49 million metric tons.
In the previous marketing year (1 July 2022-30 June 2023), Ukraine exported 58 million metric tons of food products.