Wheat Tour Starts This Week
Wheat markets started the week under pressure but managed to work their way back to last week’s highs by the end of the day Friday. Weather and politics continue to underpin the wheat complex, and both look like they are getting worse by the day.
After a long and brutal winter the spring continued to stay on the cool side. A hard freeze in mid-April dipped well into the panhandle of Texas and appears to have done some notable damage.
It always takes awhile to be able to assess freeze damage – at least a week to ten days. This week, we started to get some reports out of Oklahoma on the extent of freeze damage in test plots. Damage was as much as 80% in some areas while other didn’t get any. Generally speaking, it appears that damage in Oklahoma was more than the trade expected to see.
In Kansas, the freeze damage has been difficult to estimate, considering the crop wasn’t as advanced as further south. But the trade does expect to see some losses there as well.
The crop tour will be held this coming week, the timing of which will be excellent for estimating the damage from frost, not to mention the ongoing drought that is moving well into its third year in the western plains.
Once the cool spring weather subsided it didn’t take long for heat to build in the plains, something that is much easier to do if there is little to no moisture. Hot, dry and windy conditions across much of the plains have sapped much of what frost didn’t kill.
While rains have fallen over the last week, they’ve been spotty and in most places woefully short of being enough to keep ahead of evaporation. Rains are forecast for this weekend, but after that the forecast turns dry with lots and lots of wind. Some suggest the rest of the spring will be dry in the central plains. That’s a long time for a weather forecast to be accurate but if it does verify, the southern plains crop is in big trouble.
Europe had also been trending dry, but recent rains have relieved some of that stress at least for now. Even Ukraine had some nice widespread rains, bringing much needed relief to farmers who have enough to worry about as the geo-political situation remains tense and apparently far from over.