Warm and dry: A devastating combination for U.S. wheat crop
In Kansas, fully a quarter of the new crop was rated poor to very poor, with 46 percent rated fair and 29 percent rated good to excellent, USDA said. In South Dakota, 64 percent of the crop was rated poor to very poor; 46 percent of Nebraska wheat was rated poor to very poor; 44 percent of Oklahoma wheat was rated poor to very poor; and 40 percent of the crop in Texas was rated poor to very poor.
Frontier Ag grain marketing manager Ben Brandvik said many wheat growers would like to forward contract their new wheat at futures prices of more than $9 a bushel, prices that are up more than 30 percent from just six months ago. But the conditions now are so bad that many fear they won't be able to produce a crop to sell.
"It's not dead yet. But people are scared. Normally wheat is dormant by now. There is a lot of conversation about what is the wheat doing," Brandvik said.
There may be some near-term relief. Cooler temperatures through the Plains and scattered precipitation is likely later this week, but no significant rain or snow is in sight, according to forecasters.
Wheat is a resilient crop and wheat experts say the crop could still come back if weather conditions shift soon. Futures traders have been reluctant to push wheat prices higher than the 30 percent gains this year largely because the fate of the new crop is still unwritten.