Only 28 percent of the U.S. winter wheat crop is in good or excellent condition, one of the worst starts for the crop in years, said the USDA's Crop Progress report on Monday. Three-quarters of winter wheat land is in drought, including nine of every 10 acres in Kansas, the top wheat producing state.
U.S. and Canadian farmers plowed up about 1.8 million acres of Great Plains grasslands to plant crops in 2020, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Wildlife Federation. The report also showed that, for the first time since 2016, wheat surpassed corn and soy as the leading crop driving annual grasslands loss across the entirety of the Great Plains, and not just within the northern Great Plains.
Winter will be drier and warmer than usual for the central to southern Plains and the Southeast, said government forecasters on Thursday, suggesting there would be little drought relief in major wheat-growing states or precipitation to restore water levels in the Mississippi River. It would be the third U.S. winter in a row under the La Niña pattern, which typically brings warmer and drier weather to the U.S. southern tier, from California to the Carolinas.
For decades, farmers in the Midwest and Plains have reaped ever-higher yields per acre, but “climate change threatens to slow or reverse this productivity as soon as 2030,” said the Environmental Defense Fund on Wednesday. The “climate burdens” would worsen through 2050, the nonprofit group said in a report.
Ukrainian farmers may reduce plantings of wheat and other crops for harvest in 2023 because warfare has reduced their income at the same time they face high fuel and fertilizer costs, said two IFPRI analysts during a briefing on Tuesday. A small crop in Ukraine, usually a leading wheat and sunflower oil exporter, could prolong tight global supplies that have driven up grain prices worldwide.
Market prices for U.S. corn, soy, wheat and cotton will retreat sharply in the 2023-24 marketing year with normal weather and yields around the world, FAPRI said in an update to its agricultural baseline. However, it expects record wheat and cotton prices in 2022-23.
Russia will set a record for wheat exports during the current marketing year while Ukraine rebuilds its grain shipments, aided by the recent international agreement to end a blockade of its Black Sea ports, said USDA analysts. Bayer, the world's largest seed and ag chemical company, said on Monday that it would help rebuild Ukraine's agricultural system but also would continue to sell crop inputs in Russia, the instigator of war with Ukraine.
After a generation on the sidelines, the wheat industry may be on the cusp of joining the era of agricultural biotechnology. Crop developer Bioceres said on Monday that the FDA has determined during consultations that its HB4 wheat variety, genetically modified for drought- and herbicide-tolerance, was safe to eat.
The United States will build temporary grain silos on the border of Ukraine and Poland to help overcome a logistical barrier to exporting Ukrainian grain by rail, President Biden announced on Tuesday. "I'm working closely with our European partners to get 20 million tons of grains locked in Ukraine out onto the market to help bring down food prices," he said.
Nearly three of every 10 farmers with experience producing wheat and soybeans in one growing season say they will sow more winter wheat this fall, said a Purdue University poll on Tuesday. The practice, known as double-cropping wheat and soybeans, would mean larger wheat production in the United States and would help buffer the disruption in world food supplies created by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Electrified by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, commodity prices are sky high, with soybean futures topping $16.80 a bushel and the USDA forecasting the highest-ever farm-gate price for wheat. But high prices for corn, wheat and soybeans are far more likely to revert to their long-term averages than mark the dawn of a new era of permanently higher prices, said five university economists on Tuesday.
Republican senators slammed the Biden administration on Thursday for high inflation nationwide and said the USDA should free American farmers to plant as much land as they want to avert a potential food crisis. “We’re all hammered with” inflation, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The United States will export a record $191 billion worth of agricultural products this fiscal year as the world scrambles to replace the corn, wheat, and vegetable oil it would normally get from Russia and Ukraine, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday. It would be the second year in a row of record-high farm exports.
Aided by one of its largest crops ever, Russia will again be the world’s largest wheat exporter in the year ahead while neighboring Ukraine will ship only half as much wheat as this year, the result of the invasion by Russia, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday. The U.S. wheat crop will …
Jeff O’Connor gave President Biden a firsthand introduction to double-cropping on his 800-acre Illinois farm on Wednesday and agreed with the president that America can help fill the gap in global food supplies created by the war in Ukraine. “We have the ability to raise two crops in one growing season while simultaneously providing conservation benefits,” said O’Connor. “The farming community stands ready to maximize production, which we do so well, in this time of world need.”
President Biden will announce three steps to encourage American farmers “to boost production, lower food prices, and feed the world” during a visit to a family farm in northern Illinois on Wednesday afternoon, said the White House. Action by the USDA would be a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and to high inflation at home.
Kansas grows one out of every six bushels of wheat harvested in the United States and often leads the nation in wheat production. But in several counties in the southwestern corner of the state, where the drought is at its worst, "very little wheat will make it to harvest," said the farmer-funded organization Kansas Wheat on Monday, pointing to arid conditions and "vicious" winter winds.
U.S. food prices will soar by an average of 6.8 percent this year, the highest annual rate since President Reagan's first year in office — and that's assuming price increases slow in coming months, said a University of Missouri think tank on Monday. Sky-high commodity prices are a factor, "but higher labor and energy costs and a range of other factors are much of the story," said the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.
Ukrainian farmers are woefully short of fuel ahead of the spring planting season and have lost around 10 percent of their land “to military effects,” such as bombing, said Dzoba Taras, the country’s deputy agriculture minister, during a webinar.