Bloomberg News

U.S. Winter-Wheat Output Seen Surging 13% on Favorable Weather

May 10, 2012

U.S. winter-wheat production may surge 13 percent this year as warm, wet weather in the southern Great Plains and eastern Midwest boosts yields and encourages farmers to harvest early.

The crop may total 1.694 billion bushels, up from 1.494 billion last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Analysts in a Bloomberg survey forecast 1.658 billion bushels, on average. Hard-red winter varieties grown in the southern Plains and soft-red winter wheat sown in the Midwest account for about two-thirds of U.S. wheat output.

“The soft-red winter crop looks excellent,” Dan Manternach, a wheat economist at Doane Advisory Services in St. Louis, said in a telephone interview earlier this week. The crop in Kansas, the biggest grower of winter varieties, is “certainly better than most of us would’ve expected,” he said after touring fields in the state for three days.

Wheat futures in Chicago have fallen 8.1 percent this year, closing at $6 a bushel yesterday, as parts of Kansas and Oklahoma, the biggest winter-wheat growers, had more than twice the normal amount of rainfall in the past 60 days, National Weather Service data show.

Output of hard-red winter wheat, used to make bread, may jump 32 percent to 1.032 billion bushels from 780.1 million last year, according to the USDA. Production of soft-red winter wheat, used in cakes and cookies, will fall 6.4 percent to 428.3 million bushels, the department said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony C. Dreibus at tdreibus@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net.


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