Russia's grain crop set to hit 73 mln tons in 2006-minister

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"It will be 73-74 million tons. We will fully meet our needs and maintain our export potential at about 10 million tons," Alexei Gordeyev said.
MOSCOW, September 11 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's grain harvest is expected to reach 73 million metric tons in the current agricultural year, the agriculture minister said Monday.

Alexei Gordeyev said the Agriculture Ministry's forecast of 73 million metric tons of grain will be met.

"It will be 73-74 million tons. We will fully meet our needs and maintain our export potential at about 10 million tons," he said.

The minister said the crop should be harvested before October 1, with losses expected at 9-10%, 2% higher than last year.

He said 63.5 million tons of grain has been harvested so far, which is 4 million tons less than in 2005.

Russia produced 74.7 million metric tons of corn in 2005, up 2.2. million tons on 2004.

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