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Wheat Wrap: Farmers 'Just Hanging On' As Crop Potential Spirals

Monday's USDA Crop Progress report showed more than 40% of the nation's winter wheat crop in good or excellent condition. Yet many wheat farmers say their wheat acres are in trouble as the drought continues its onslaught in areas where wheat is the primary crop (the southern and central Plains). In fact, farmers are starting to get frustrated, especially those who are watching their yield potential dwindle lower with each day that passes without rainfall relief.

"Not zero but single digits. Thin and way behind yet planted in October," says one Marketing Talk adviser in assessing his crop. "I am appalled at the weather forecast these days. It's a game at this point. Tomorrow's high temp ranges from 68 to 81 depending on who you listen to. Rain totals for Wednesday night range from 0.10-3.5."

There is an old adage that wheat is the crop with nine lives. Though it's seemingly burning through those lives quickly right now, some farmers say they're still holding out some hope that a combination of crop insurance and minimal crop output could keep them out of the red. It is, admittedly, an optimistic outlook, another Marketing Talk adviser says, but that's virtually a must at this point in the growing season.

"If you're being appraised at 20 BPA, I wouldn't destroy it just yet. That yield is more than enough to pay for harvesting. Couple those bushels with a nice insurance check, and it should keep you hanging on for another year, at least the way I see it," he says. "I know that 'just hanging on' is getting real old, but I truly believe that our year for grains is just around the corner. I know I'm being optimistic again, but like I said, it keeps me from losing my mind prematurely."

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