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Drought Affecting 3.4% of Sown Territory

Russia is the world's third-biggest exporter of wheat.

Drought in parts of Russia damaged grains on 1.5 million hectares this year, the Agriculture Ministry said.

That's 3.4 percent of the total sown area, including 28.3 million hectares of spring sowing and 16.1 million hectares of winter crops, according to a preliminary estimate on the ministry's website today.

Drought, which is still affecting nine regions, hit 16 of Russia's 83 regional areas this year, the ministry said.

Reaping is nearly finished in Russia's top two grain-growing areas in the south, according to regional agriculture ministries.

Krasnodar, the country's biggest grain grower last year, reaped crops from 79 percent of the planted fields and collected 4.4 million metric tons, the regional agriculture ministry said in a statement yesterday. Yields were about 4.1 tons a hectare, and 90 percent of grains and legumes were of exportable quality, the ministry said. Reaping may be completed in the next seven to 10 days with favorable weather, it said. Last year, the area harvested 11.4 million tons of grains and legumes, or 12.2 percent of the national crop.

Stavropol, the second biggest crop grower last year, harvested grains and legumes from more than 71 percent of the planted area and got more than 3 million tons of grains, the region's agriculture ministry said yesterday. That compares with 8.2 million tons of grains and legumes from all of the sown area last year, or 8.7 percent of the national crop, according to the state statistics data.

The regions that are still in drought are Rostov, Volgograd, Stavropol and Kalmykia republic in the country's south, Saratov, Orenburg in the Volga Federal District, Kurgan, Chelyabinsk in the Ural area, and Kemerovo in the Siberian Federal District, the ministry said.

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