The Soviet Union's grain harvest this year will be smaller than the relatively good harvests of the two previous years because of drought in the country's breadbasket, Izvestia reported.

The Soviet government newspaper gave no figures but said the harvest was just drawing to a close and would fall short of the 231 million tons harvested in each of the past two years.A significant shortfall in the grain harvest would be a blow to Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev's efforts to improve food supplies to consumers and reform agriculture. It also would require the Soviet Union to use more of its scare foreign currency to buy grain instead of machinery and equipment to modernize the economy.