Factbox-Dam blast and flooding threaten southern Ukraine crops

LONDON (Reuters) - Swathes of farmland along the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine were flooded on Tuesday as water gushed from the huge Soviet-era Nova Kakhovka Dam following a blast, raising concerns about the outlook for crops particularly in the Kherson region.

The flooding contributed to a sharp rise in global wheat prices although the extent of crop losses is not yet known.

Here is what we know.


The dam is in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, which is an important wheat-growing area, normally accounting for around 6% of the country's production, U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows.

Ukraine is expected to harvest about 20.2 million tonnes of wheat this year, according to the International Grains Council, so if Kherson produces its typical share of the country's production, around 1.2 million tonnes could be at risk.

The region has, however, seen heavy fighting during the current conflict so its share could be lower.

In some cases buildings used to store crops and machinery have been bombed and burned while soil contamination and mines have also posed significant challenges.

Other crops grown in Kherson include rapeseed, barley, sunflower seed and millet. There is very little corn in Kherson with the crop largely grown further north.


The dam is part of a complex that includes a vast reservoir that feeds the North Crimean canal - a channel which has traditionally supplied 85% of Crimea's water. Much of it is used for agriculture.

Crimea would normally produce about half as much wheat as Kherson, according to USDA data, putting the potential crop this year at roughly 600,000 tonnes.

Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-backed head of Crimea, said there was no immediate threat to water supply or any risk of flooding but flagged a potentially serious threat of water supplies in time if the canal gets shallower.

(Reporting by Nigel Hunt; editing by Barbara Lewis)