Wheat Shortage: Opportunity For U.S. Farmers

Russia’s ban of wheat exports is giving U.S. farmers the opportunity to produce more of the crop to meet demands around the world, a Purdue University agricultural economist says.

Purdue’s Chris Hurt predicts there will be an increase of 50-75 percent in the amount of wheat planted in the Eastern Corn Belt this fall over 2009, a record low year. Indiana farmers last fall planted 300,000 acres of wheat, which annually is the state’s third-largest crop, behind corn (6 million acres this year), and soybeans (5.3 million acres).

Because of the expected increased interest in wheat, Hurt recommends that farmers contact seed suppliers now to secure the varieties they hope to plant. "Seed availability may be the limiting factor on how many acres of wheat get seeded this fall," he says.

Drought and wildfires greatly reduced wheat supplies in Russia — the fourth-largest wheat exporter in the world — and in neighboring Ukraine and Kazakhstan. In addition, Canada has lost an estimated 16 percent of its wheat crop from flooding.

Russia’s decision to ban wheat exports into 2011 has raised concerns of a repeat of food shortages similar to what consumers faced in 2008. But Hurt says that is unlikely to happen.

"It’s very important to recognize that we don’t have the entire set of conditions that we had in 2008," he says.

In 2008, the world’s wheat inventory shrank to 20 percent of a year’s use. It currently is at 26 percent — still tight but more abundant than two years ago. Hurt also said the U.S. "is loaded with wheat inventory."

"We are the world’s largest exporter of wheat, and we have a lot of wheat to sell," he says. "I think the world will buy more. We have it to sell, and that’s certainly good news for those farmers holding onto wheat inventory."

Even farmers who aren’t holding onto their wheat can capitalize. Unlike last year’s wet conditions that made planting wheat impossible for many farmers, drier weather late this summer has offered the outlook for a successful wheat-planting season.

Adding to wheat’s attraction is the recovery of prices paid to farmers earlier this year.

"The problems in Russia, Canada and other countries around the Black Sea really have elevated wheat prices this year," he says. "We’re seeing prices about $2 higher per bushel than what we anticipated earlier this year."

Farmers in the southern parts of Indiana, Illinois and Ohio could "double-crop," or plant wheat and soybeans in the same field. With soybean prices projected to hover around $10 for the 2011 crop and wheat prices above $6, double-crop wheat offers farmers strong financial incentives.

In the central and northern parts of those states where double-cropping isn’t as feasible because of the shorter growing season, Hurt says prices are making single-crop wheat a competitive crop, especially on lower-quality soils that may have a yield potential of only 130-140 bushels of corn per acre.

"Generally what we see on those soils is that wheat yields do well relative to corn and soybeans, and the economics look very good for single-crop wheat on that type of land," he says. "In fact, right now it appears the returns for single-crop wheat could even be better than corn or soybeans."

(Source: Ag Answers, Purdue University & Ohio State University)

Leave a Reply

Latest News
Darin Lickfeldt Verdesian In Field
Crop InputsVerdesian: Sustainability Goes Hand in Hand with Profit…
July 25, 2017
Sustainability is a hot topic in agriculture these days. And while measuring sustainability and its on-farm impact can seem difficult Read More
Crop InputsBASF: In Arkansas Drift Cases, Buffer Zones Mostly Not …
July 24, 2017
BASF on Thursday addressed questions about spreading dicamba drift issues on a media briefing call. In Arkansas – which is Read More
Tim Hassinger Dow AgroSciences President and CEO
Crop InputsDow’s Tim Hassinger Named President, CEO of Linds…
July 24, 2017
Lindsay Corp. has  announced the appointment of Timothy Hassinger as president and CEO and a member of its board of Read More
Eric SfiligojThe 2017 Ambassadors of Respect Come from Around the Gl…
July 24, 2017
After a week of fun, enjoying food, sights, and company information, DuPont Crop Protection representatives and their Environmental Respect guests Read More
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: Dicamba Update and InfoAg Preview
July 21, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf discuss reports from the field and comments from Monsanto about dicamba drift this season, Read More
Stewardship‘Gonna Fly Now’ with Environmental Respect
July 20, 2017
One of the most memorable moments in movie history occurred in the Academy Award-winning 1976 film “Rocky.” Haven gotten his Read More
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect: Grand Grounds, Posters Parade
July 19, 2017
To celebrate their accomplishments in the area of environmental stewardship, award recipients at the 2017 Environmental Respect week spent much Read More
StewardshipHarden’s Message to ERA Winners: Do Tell Your Good Stor…
July 19, 2017
As the daughter of a peanut farmer, Krysta Harden, Chief Sustainability Officer for DuPont Crop Protection, understands the importance the Read More
StewardshipFarming Smarter Hinges on 4R Best Management Practices
July 18, 2017
Preserving water quality while feeding another 2 billion people by 2050 is the challenge facing North America’s farmers and its Read More
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect 2017 Kicks Off Enjoying an Americ…
July 18, 2017
Following months of planning and scheduling, the 2017 Environmental Respect Awards (ERA) celebration kicked off in fine fashion as more Read More
Soybean Field Sunset
OpinionPicking Partners in the Crop Protection Market
July 17, 2017
Agriculture is a market awash in highs, lows, and everything in between. This is certainly true in the world of Read More
TMX-2050-In-Cab-Display-Launch-Run-Screen
EquipmentGPS Auto Steer: Innovating in a Mature Market
July 17, 2017
In the world of Big IRON, GPS auto steer has closely mirrored the evolutionary path of consumer GPS Navigation systems Read More
MFA-Centralia-MO
Eric SfiligojThe Resilience of Ag Retailers
July 17, 2017
After covering the ag retail market for 17 years, I think one of the most impressive character traits I’ve seen Read More
SERA-meeting
Stewardship4R Event Explores How to Minimize Phosphorus Losses
July 17, 2017
This year the Southern Extension and Research Activity (SERA) – 17; will be meeting in Oregon, OH, from August 14-17. Read More
Students Soybean Field
StewardshipCCA 4R Study Guide Available
July 17, 2017
In June the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) released the Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) 4R Nutrient Management Specialist (4R NMS) Read More
Soil soybean closeup
FertilizerThe 4Rs and Potassium
July 17, 2017
Are we meeting crop K needs? Using the 4R nutrient stewardship approach of selecting the right source at the right Read More
Soil Young Corn
StewardshipTop 10 Themes from the 2017 4R Nutrient Stewardship Sum…
July 17, 2017
Preserving water quality while feeding another 2 billion people by 2050 is the challenge facing North America’s farmers and its Read More
Soybean Field Sunset
Crop InputsWhich is Better for Soybeans: Fall or Spring Applicatio…
July 17, 2017
There have been many questions about fall versus spring applications of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) to soybeans, writes Dr. T. Read More