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Russia suffers worst drought in 130 years

Russia suffers worst drought in 130 years

Currently suffering through the worst drought in 130 years, Russians have seen crops fail in at least 23 grain-producing regions, reports Reuters. Central European Russia, the Volga, Siberia, and south of the Ural mountains have been hit the hardest, with nearly one-fifth of the planted 2010 wheat crop already destroyed. To date, 9.6 million hectares (ha) of wheat have been ruined by heat, out of the 43.6 million ha that have been sown.

In 2009-10, Russia was the worlds third largest producer of wheat, harvesting 97 million tonnes. The countrys previous 2010-11 estimate of 80-85 million tonnes is now considered optimistic, although the country holds grain stocks of around 24 million tonnes. With Russian wheat prices rising, the government has ordered officials to help struggling farmers by extending loan maturity.

The temperatures in July -- the countrys hottest month on record -- have reached 40ºC (104º F) in the shade, with temperatures last week ranging from 31ºC to 37ºC (88ºF to 98ºF).

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