February 6, 2023


US wheat production affected by drought


A prolonged drought affecting the key US plains wheat belt region raises questions about the commodity's harvest prospects, particularly in states such as Kansas, the leading winter wheat producer, and Oklahoma, the third-largest producer last year, Hellenic Shipping News reported.


Despite recent rainfall, experts believe it will not be enough to revive the struggling crop.


US farmers have increased their winter wheat plantings by 11% compared to last year, reaching an eight-year high, due to factors such as high prices caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, as well as low input costs and improved crop insurance programmes.


US wheat exports are expected to be at a 51-year low in the marketing year beginning June 1, 2022, despite efforts by the Biden administration to increase US food production following the Ukraine war. Winter wheat accounts for roughly two-thirds of US production, with the remainder planted in the spring, and the US has recently lost market share to other wheat exporters, including Russia.


Mike Schulte, executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, said they are likely to see a yield drag because the crop was planted so late, and it was stressed from a lack of moisture.


Lucas Haag, an extension agronomist at Kansas State University, said the ongoing drought in the US Plains contributed to the 10% increase in hard red winter wheat plantings for 2023 by freeing up acres where corn or sorghum crops failed last summer.


Haag also said if the current drought continues into spring, US Plains farmers may decide to skip planting corn and soybeans in 2023 and instead plant winter wheat this fall for harvest in 2024.


Several inches of snow fell recently in northwest Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado, acting as an insulator against frigid temperatures, which could have harmed crops. The moisture in the snow will benefit the dormant wheat, though the crop will require much more precipitation when it resumes growing in the spring.


-      Hellenic Shipping News

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