Ukraine has maintained its grain harvest forecast for 2024 at 52.4 million metric tons despite bad weather in May, acting Agriculture Minister Taras Vysotskiy said on Thursday.

"At this time, we will not review it (the forecast). We agreed to review it in July," Vysotskiy told Reuters.

Weather forecasters and agricultural scientists have said severe frosts in the first half of May and an ensuing drought in most regions of Ukraine created unfavourable conditions for all crops and may affect the harvest.

Ukraine experienced several waves of frost between May 1 and May 16.

However, Ukraine's largest agribusiness group, the Agrarian Council, said that frosts in May damaged rapeseed crops in central and eastern Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv and Kirovohrad regions and the damage in some farms was up to 40%.

The group said the 2024 rapeseed crop could fall to no more than 4.1 million metric tons from around 4.7 million tons in 2023, mostly due to unfavourable weather in early May.

Analysts this week said that the prolonged absence of rain across most of Ukraine caused a deterioration of conditions for all crops last month but has yet to have critical consequences.

They noted that May 2024 was one of the driest in Ukraine for 30 years and in some regions for more than 100 years.

Weather forecasters say that as of May 31 air and soil drought of varying intensity was observed in most areas of the Kharkiv, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions and some areas of the Poltava and Dnipro regions.

Ukraine is a major global grain and oilseed grower and exporter, but its harvests and exports have declined since the Russian invasion in February 2022. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; editing by Jason Neely and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)