Rain in Plains Bolsters U.S. Winter-Wheat Outlook After Drought

Sep 6, 2018

By Megan Durisin

2018-09-06 19:06:24.258 GMT

(Bloomberg) -- Farmland across Kansas, parched for months by drought, got a dose of favorable rain just as this season’s wheat crop is set to be sown.

Recent showers reduced the percentage of the state facing drought to the smallest since late 2017, government data showed Thursday. Kansas is the largest U.S. producer of winter wheat, and the rain boosts conditions for the crop, which is typically planted through October.

While U.S. planting of the grain fell to the lowest in a century in recent seasons, the mood may be shifting as prices climb. Wheat futures in Chicago have jumped 20 percent this year after dry spells curbed production in major producers from Russia to Australia. Compared with soybeans, wheat faced less fallout from the U.S.-China trade war roiling oilseed markets. “There’s an expectation that we’re going to have a sizable
increase in winter-wheat acreage for harvest in 2019,” Bill Lapp, president of Advanced Economic Solutions in Omaha, Nebraska, said in a telephone interview. “Looking globally, there’s a much more constructive picture for wheat that you
could draw.”

More rain expected in the southern U.S. wheat belt will improve conditions further for germination, Radiant Solutions, based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, said Thursday in a report.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Megan Durisin in Chicago at mdurisin1@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net
Patrick McKiernan, Will Wade