December 31, 2008
Wheat futures continued to increase on speculation that US wheat growers planted less in October and November after a price slump.
Producers of soft-red winter varieties may have planted as many as 15-percent fewer acres than a year ago, analysts said. Chicago futures gained 7.8 percent this month.
Wheat prices declined sharply in the autumn, therefore price incentives were lower, leading to small soft-red winter acres, said Dave Marshall, a farm-marketing adviser for Toay Commodity Futures Group LLC.
CBOT wheat futures for March delivery rose 12.75 cents or 2.2 percent to US$6.0475 per bushel. The price has dropped 55 percent from a record US$13.495 in February, partly due to reduced global demand for US grain.
Wheat growers of hard-red winter varieties may have planted about the same amount or slightly more than a year earlier, Marshall said.
US acreage for all winter wheat may have dropped 5 percent from 46.2 million a year ago, said Mike Woolverton, an agriculture economist.
Wheat is the fourth-largest US crop, valued at US$13.7 billion in 2007, behind corn, soy and hay.