On Tuesday, Sept. 11, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich reiterated earlier statements that, “Russia will not limit grain exports, even if its exportable surplus is exhausted.”

The announcement, while commendable in light of Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organization, may not be practical.

The very next day, USDA lowered its expectations for Russian wheat production in 2012/13 to 39.0 MMT; 30.6 percent lower than 2011/12, the lowest production level in nine years, and 2.5 MMT lower than the drought ravaged crop in 2010/11.

The cut to the USDA’s estimate for Russian wheat production brought it more in line with an earlier prediction of 38.0 MMT made by the analyst group SovEcon.

Russia’s wheat exports are primarily sourced from its Southern district, while its own domestic consumption is mainly sourced from the country’s interior (Central, Volga, Urals and Siberia districts).

When supplies in the interior are unable to meet domestic demand, wheat can be moved north from the Southern district.

This year, SovEcon is estimating that the Russian interior will produce 22.8 MMT of wheat, well short of the 35.5 MMT of domestic consumption estimated by USDA.