Bloomberg News

Wheat Declines for Fifth Session in Six as Crop Outlook Improves

June 05, 2012

Wheat fell for the fifth time in six sessions on an improving outlook for crops in Kansas and Oklahoma, the biggest U.S. producers of winter varieties.

Winter wheat was 20 percent harvested as of June 3, up from 7 percent a year earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Collection is ahead of schedule as warm weather sped development after plants emerged from winter dormancy. About 52 percent of the crop was in good or excellent condition, compared with 34 percent a year earlier, the USDA said yesterday.

“Oklahoma looks really good,” Darrell Holaday, the president of Advanced Market Concepts in Wamego, Kansas, said by telephone. “In south-central Kansas, the harvest was delayed last week, but they were back cutting again yesterday. The wheat looks really good.”

Wheat futures for July delivery fell 2.3 percent to settle at $6.1325 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price has dropped 6.1 percent this year.

Participants on a tour of Kansas fields from April 30 to May 3 forecast yields at a record 49.1 bushels an acre. Since then, less than 5 percent of normal precipitation has fallen in some parts of Kansas, National Weather Service data show. If the crop hadn’t developed early, the heat would’ve struck at a critical growth stage, Holaday said.

“The one thing that saved this wheat was it matured early,” Holaday said. “Normally we say we’re going to start cutting on June 7. If it was a normal year, we would’ve been in the filling stage two or three weeks ago, but instead we started cutting before Memorial Day. The reality is the early harvest saved the crop.”

Wheat is the fourth-largest U.S. crop, valued at $14.4 billion in 2011, behind corn, soybeans and hay, government data show.

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

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


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