Russian harvesting of sugarbeets hampered by rain

Published online: Oct 29, 2013
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Russia, the world's second-biggest beet-sugar producer, is having difficulty harvesting the roots and supplying refineries on schedule because of rain, according to the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies.

Farmers gathered 9.7 million metric tons of beets by Sept. 23, down 24 percent from the year-earlier 12.8 million tons, the Moscow-based institute, known as Ikar, said on its website today. Rainfall may reduce sugar content in beets from record levels, Evgeny Ivanov, an analyst at Ikar, said by phone.

"Abundant precipitation in August and September in many sugar-beet growing regions, especially in the central Black Earth area, impedes harvesting," Ikar said. "Harvesters simply cannot enter the fields."

Many sugar refineries had to delay the start of the refining process, work at half of capacity or pause operations because rain prevented farmers from delivering beets on time, according to Ikar. The institute may cut its estimate for Russian beet-sugar output in the 2013-14 season begun Aug. 1 below 3.5 million tons from the current 4.3 million tons if rains continue in October, Ivanov said by phone.

Russia was the world's second-biggest beet-sugar producer after the European Union last season, turning out 5 million tons, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.