Bloomberg News

Wheat Futures Rise as Dry U.S. Great Plains May Cut Winter Crops

September 02, 2011

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat futures rose the most in more than a week on speculation that persistent dry weather in the U.S. Great Plains will curb winter-crop planting.

Parts of southern Kansas and western Oklahoma have had less than half of the normal rainfall this year, while areas of Texas had 25 percent or less, according to the National Weather Service. Farmers usually plant hard, red winter wheat, the variety grown in the Plains that’s used to make bread, in September and October. Crops sown in dry soil may not emerge from the ground before the winter dormancy period.

“In a lot of areas of Oklahoma and Texas, and some areas in southwest Kansas, they probably couldn’t get any wheat up at this time,” Larry Glenn, an analyst at Frontier Ag, said by telephone from Quinter, Kansas. “There’s been talk about some moisture for the Plains states. Some will help, but they really need a lot.”

Wheat futures for December delivery rose 14.5 cents, or 1.9 percent, to settle at $7.755 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, capping the biggest gain since Aug. 23. The most-active contract still dropped 2.7 percent this week, the first decline in six weeks, on speculation that U.S. exports might slow after the earlier price rally.

The central and southern Plains will be mostly dry in the next seven days, “with only light showers,” according to a Telvent DTN forecast.

The U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of wheat, the fourth-largest domestic crop, valued at $13 billion in 2010, behind corn, soybeans and hay, government data show.

--Editors: Millie Munshi, Steve Stroth

To contact the reporter on this story: Whitney McFerron in Chicago at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at

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