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USSR 1986 Grain Harvest To Be About Same As Last Year, Says USDA

May 9, 1986 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Soviet Union’s 1986 grain harvest may produce 190 million metric tons, the same yield as last year, the Agriculture Department said Friday.

But officials warned that the forecast, the first of the year by USDA, does not reflect the possible impact on crops of the Soviet nuclear accident at Chernobyl, which is in the bread-basket area of the Ukraine.

The Soviet grain projections could be changed later ″as more precise information becomes available concerning the location, intensity and decay life of the radioactive contamination″ from the Chernobyl nuclear plant, the report said.


Soviet grain production has varied widely over the years, rising to a record 237.4 million tons in 1978 and then plummeting to 160 million tons in 1981, the report indicated.

The report said the Soviet Union might import a total of 30 million tons of grain from all sources in the 1986-87 international trade year that will begin on July 1.

In the current year, Soviet grain imports dropped to 29 million tons from a record of 55.5 million tons in 1984-85.

″Expectations of lower world grain prices this summer and fall, as a result of new U.S. farm legislation may be encouraging the U.S.S.R. to delay late-season grain purchases as much as possible,″ the report said

Also, lower revenue from Soviet oil exports may be weighing on the cutbacks in grain imports.

The United States has a bilateral grain agreement with the Soviet Union which specifies minimum purchases of American wheat and corn each year. Those currently total nearly 6.4 million tons of corn and 152,600 tons of wheat. In 1984-85, U.S. grain sales to the Soviets were a record 18.6 million tons.