Slow Thaw Needed to Preserve Wheat Crop
The USDA says a gradual end to the winter freeze is needed to prevent further damage to the country’s wheat crop.
US wheat futures have firmed in recent weeks over the prospect of a diminished crop caused by persistent cold weather, Reuters reports.
Snow cover has protected crops but short-lived warmer weather could melt snows and could encourage growth that could be damaged by further cold snaps.
The condition of the US plains winter wheat crop has dropped due to frigid temperatures throughout February and dry soils, according to government data released on Monday. Kansas’ winter wheat crop was rated 34 percent good to excellent, down 1 percentage point from a month earlier. Nebraska’s winter wheat crop was rated 43 percent good to excellent, a 3 percentage point drop from the start of February.
The ratings decline was greater in southern areas of the winter wheat belt, where soils were drier and the crop was more susceptible to the cold.
March wheat futures surged nearly 5 percent on Monday as tensions in Ukraine raised fears over potential supply disruptions from the Black Sea.
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