Kazakhstan sees annual grain exports falling to 10 million tons

Kazakhstan plans to ship 10 million metric tons of grain this marketing year after exporting a record 12.7 million tons from Sept. 1, 2011 to Aug. 31, 2012, the Agriculture Ministry said.

Kazakhstan has about 9 million tons of stock left from last year, according to government data. The country shipped 77,700 tons of grain in the first 10 days of this month, the ministry said in an e-mailed statement today.

“We have a potential to export more than 10 million tons of grain, but only needed grain will be bought this season, nobody will buy for reserves, like some Arabic countries did last year,” Agriculture Minister Asylzhan Mamytbekov said yesterday in the capital Astana. On average, the country’s shipping capacity is about 6 million tons, he said.

Kazakhstan may gather about 13 million tons of grain this season, compared with a record 26.9 million tons in 2011, according to government data.

Kazakhstan harvested 11.3 million hectares (27.9 million acres), or 73 percent of the area planted with grains, as of yesterday, according to a statement published on the Agriculture Ministry’s website. That compares with 50 percent of the area harvested at the same time in 2011. Farmers started reaping in July this year, earlier than usual.

“The speed of harvest is higher than last year as everything ripened earlier,” Yevgeny Aman, the ministry’s executive secretary, said yesterday.

Grain Milling

The country milled 9.1 million tons of grain as of Sept. 11, compared with 12.3 million tons in the same period last year, according to ministry data.

The average yield of 810 kilograms (0.81 tons) a hectare declined this year as dry weather damaged crops. It was 1,530 kilograms in 2011.

“The average yields will grow by the end of the harvest, because there are going to be more productive fields at the end, which weren’t touched as much by the drought,” Mamytbekov said Sept. 4.

During the past week yields have improved in the main growing regions. They have risen in Kostanay from 560 to 630 kilograms a hectare, in Akmola from 610 to 710 kilograms a hectare, and in North Kazakhstan from 1,120 to 1,170 kilograms a hectare, according to a Sept. 11 statement on the ministry’s website.

“If the weather persists, the harvest will end in a maximum of two weeks,” Aman said.

September is expected to be warm and arid with some rains possibly in the northern and mountainous regions, according to Kazhydromet, the national weather service.

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