Russian Farmers Urged to Harvest at Night in Worst Heat Wave in a Decade

As Russia suffers its worst drought in a decade, officials advised grain farmers in central Oryol province to start harvesting at night to protect their combines against mechanical breakdowns in the daytime heat, reported “Kazakh-Zerno” NA with reference to the “Bloomberg“.

Farmers in Oryol, 380 kilometers (235 miles) south of Moscow, also must prevent fires from breaking out in their fields, the head of the provincial agriculture department, Vladimir Koroteev, said yesterday in comments posted on the Oryol government’s website.

Most of Russia’s grain-growing heartland — its central provinces and the Volga River region — will suffer from “abnormal” temperatures as high as 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and a severe risk of fire through July 25, the Federal Hydrometeorological Service said today. Temperatures in central Russia will exceed the historical average by at least 4 degrees Celsius between July 20 and July 29, the service said.

The Agriculture Ministry said it may declare weather- related emergencies in two additional crop-producing provinces, raising to 19 the total number of farming provinces facing such an emergency. The country is experiencing its worst wave of hot, dry weather for at least 10 years, the ministry said.

Farmers in Oryol had harvested 479,000 metric tons of grain, or 21 percent of their planted areas, as of July 19, Koroteev said. Yields for wheat, barley and other grains averaged 2.9 tons per hectare, he said.

Oryol Governor Alexander Kozlov said the government will punish any attempts to steal or understate the grain crop. 

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