In 2019, Russia harvested a minimal rye crop over the past 50 years due to adverse weather conditions and a decrease in the sown area over the course of several decades; this led to an increase in the cost of rye flour, which became more expensive than wheat, experts said, as cited by RIA Novosti.
According to Rosstat, the gross harvest of rye in 2019 amounted to 1.429 million tons. At the end of December, the Center for Agricultural Analytics of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation noted that the rye crop in Russia became minimal for more than half a century – since 1965.
According to the head of the institution’s modeling and forecasting department Rudolf Bulavin, the rye crop has become minimal since 1965 due to a combination of a drop in sown area to a record low of 850 thousand hectares and a decrease in yield due to adverse weather conditions – by 13.5%, to 17.3 centners per hectare.
“The decrease in sown area is associated with a decrease in domestic demand. The growth of domestic grain production since the beginning of the zero years was provided by export demand. Here, rye lost the competition to wheat for the sown area,” the expert said. He noted that the cultivated area of rye decreased throughout the entire post-Soviet history of Russia: for example, in 2019 they fell by 9.4 times compared to the 1990 level.
In turn, the Deputy General Director of the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR), Irina Glazunova, noted that in the 2019-2020 season of agricultural years, the country entered with historically minimal rye stocks and record low winter rye crops. Gross crop in 2019 turned out to be a record low and therefore could not change the situation.
Rye flour is now more expensive than wheat flour: in particular, in December food rye cost about 14 thousand rubles per ton, and wheat of classes 3 and 4 – 12.8 and 12 thousand rubles per ton: meanwhile, three years ago, prices were about 8, 55 thousand, 11 thousand and 9.35 thousand rubles per ton, respectively, follows from the IKAR data.
“Now rye flour is more expensive than good quality wheat flour, so I think the effect of moving buyers from one product to another will work: some of the buyers of brown bread will switch to gray, white, and thus simply reduce demand. I don’t think it costs wait for a further increase in prices (for rye flour products in 2020 – ed.), and if it suddenly does, then no more than 5-10%,” said Dmitry, executive director of the Association of Manufacturers and Suppliers of Food Products (Rusprodsoyuz) Vostrikov.