It’s been a record-breaking year for hot, dry, windy (HDW) events in the Midwest, with Kansas — the nation’s largest winter wheat producer — hit worse than any other state. The events, in which all three conditions occur simultaneously for a prolonged period, inevitably lead to drought and lowered grain yields. (No paywall)
The commonly used estimates of global wheat stocks are imperfect — some countries don’t publish data at all — but they indicate supplies, disrupted by the war in Ukraine, are the tightest since the food price crisis of 2007/08, said a blog by the IFPRI think tank.
With U.S. wheat selling for a record-high average of $9.10 a bushel, growers say they will sow the largest amount of land to wheat in seven years, enough to bump up production by 17 percent.
With their 2022 crop fetching the highest season-average price on record, wheat farmers sowed 36.95 million acres of winter wheat for harvest this spring and summer — the largest total in seven years, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday.
Global food prices skyrocketed following the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February, but they have returned to earth, said the FAO Food Price Index, based on monthly changes in a basket of food commodities.
U.S. growers reaped their second-smallest wheat crop in 20 years due to drought in the Plains, said the Agriculture Department. The smaller-than-expected harvest would delay any American role in restoring grain flows disrupted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The world wheat crop is trending downward, due to a brutal heat wave in India and dry weather in Spain and France, said the Agriculture Department in its monthly WASDE report. Although Russia is expected to sharply increase its exports, more than 12 million tonnes of wheat would be liquidated from global stockpiles over the next year in the face of unrelenting demand for food.
The UN index of food prices, already at a record high, rose by 12.5 percent in reaction to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with world wheat prices soaring nearly 20 percent, said the Food and Agriculture Organization. Wheat prices were so high, said USDA analysts in a separate report, that consumers in sub-Saharan Africa may find it cheaper to eat rice, ordinarily the more expensive staple grain.
To mitigate the impact of war in Ukraine on global food supplies, the G7's agriculture ministers called on all nations to keep their trade channels open and to guard against unjustified limits on exports. "We will not tolerate artificially inflated prices that could diminish the availability of food and agricultural products," said the ministers in a statement after a special meeting convened via the internet.
U.S. wheat exports are slowing due to high prices and rising global production, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday. "U.S. export prices are expected to remain elevated [for] the rest of 2021/22, further diminishing U.S. competitiveness," said the USDA's monthly WASDE report.
Farmers growing the three major U.S. crops — corn, soybeans and wheat — can expect a sizable decline in the average sales price for this year's harvest instead of the mild upturn that was forecast in late February, said the USDA. In its first projection of the fall harvest, the USDA said season-average prices for the three crops would be 8 to 10 percent lower than anticipated at its Outlook Forum.
When the seed bank in Tal Hadya, Syria, was threatened with destruction in the civil war that has engulfed that country, the seeds were smuggled out. Now, some those seeds — from wild wheat relatives in the Fertile Crescent — are being planted in the American Midwest in the hopes that they can protect the U.S. wheat crop from the pests and disease brought by a changing climate, according to FERN’s latest story, published with Yale Environment 360. No paywall
Flooding from tropical storm Harvey, the most powerful storm to strike the United States as a hurricane in more than a decade, will disrupt wheat shipments from the ports of Houston and Corpus Christi, says Ben Scholz of the Texas Wheat Producers Board. Scholz told Bloomberg that most of the Texas wheat crop was not affected by Harvey but exports could suffer.
Futures prices for spring wheat soared 40 percent in a month and hit nearly $8 a bushel at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange on Monday, a four-year high, due to drought in the northern Plains, said the Wall Street Journal. The spring wheat prices, far above USDA's forecast of a season average $4.30 a bushel for this year's wheat crop, illustrate the demand for high-quality wheat despite a global glut.
After suffering a 31-percent drop in net cash income in three years, the U.S. farm sector will see stable to modestly rising income in coming years, while farmland values will fall 11 percent before leveling off at the end of this decade, says the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute. The University of Missouri think tank says farm debt will rise, as will indicators of financial stress, such as the debt-to-asset ratio.
The global grain glut and weaker demand from China will keep grain prices low into next year, according to analysts at Olam International, one of the world's largest commodities traders, reports Bloomberg.