KIEV (B)--Three of Ukraine's southern regions, Odessa, Mykolativ and Kherson have started planting early spring crops, including rapeseed, to be harvested in the 2000-2001 season, Agriculture Policy Ministry senior official Petro Pasichnyk said March 3. General spring plantings are expected to start in about two weeks when average air temperatures should exceed 5 degrees Celsius.

"Another southern region, Crimea, was the first region to start planting spring crops, in mid-February. We expect that the next regions to start planting would be Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhya," Pasichnyk said.

"We forecast that most regions would begin to plant spring crops nearer to the end of March when average air temperatures should rise above 5 degrees Celsius", Agriculture Meteorology Department Head Tetyana Adamenko told Bridge News March 3.

"In Crimea the temperatures have already reached 12 to 17 degrees Celsius. Some crops have already started sprouting," Adamenko said.

Ukraine is expected to plant about 7 million hectares of spring grain crops in the 2000-2001 season, down from 7.2 million hectares the previous season.

The region of Odessa has about 9% of the country's total planting area, while Mykolayiv, Kherson and Crimea have about 6% each. Ukraine consists of 25 regions.

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