Heat, drought spur early wheat cutting
The custom cutters arrived around noon Monday at Karen and Harold Sturm's farm near Caldwell.
With 2,500 acres of wheat to harvest, the Sturm family — in its fifth generation of farming — will be in full swing by today.
"I don't know, I am not an expert, but it is pretty short. It's been pretty dry," Karen Sturm said Monday. "It's hard to tell until you get in there."
Around her farm on Monday, neighbors were cutting. But the true sign of harvest — the long lines of trucks at the local elevator — haven't been seen yet.
"People have just been getting started today and over the weekend," she said.
She has hopes for this year's crop. It won't be a bumper year, she says. She's hoping for an average year. rest of article is at http://www.kansas.com/2011/06/06/1881399/heat-drought-spur-early-wheat.html
"We got a 2-inch rain about a month ago. If it had been a month sooner that would have been so much better," Sturm said.
She knows other parts of Kansas — and even around the world — haven't had the rain.
The worst droughts in decades are wilting wheat fields worldwide.
Parts of China, the biggest grower, had the least rain in a century, some European regions are the driest in 50 years and almost half the winter-wheat crop in the U.S., the largest exporter, is rated poor or worse. Inventory is dropping 8.8 percent, the most in five years, Rabobank International says. Prices will advance 20 percent to as high as $9.25 a bushel by Dec. 31, a Bloomberg survey of 14 analysts and traders shows.
Wheat as much as doubled in the past year as crops failed, spurring Ukraine and Russia to curb shipments and increasing the U.S. share of global sales by the most since 2004. Russia ending its export ban on July 1 and Ukraine lifting quotas may not be enough as crops wither elsewhere, fueling gains in food prices which the United Nations says are already near a record.
And, in Kansas, which at one time billed itself as the breadbasket of the world, things don't look good.
"In 32 years, I've never seen so many problems in so many places," said Dan Basse, the president of AgResource Co., a farm researcher in Chicago.
"We're concerned about the world story now," said Basse, who has been studying agricultural markets since 1979.
On Monday, new wheat was selling at $8.39 at the Farmers Cooperative in Protection.
Brian Harris, manager of the cooperative that also serves Sitka and Ashland, said the moisture content on the wheat has been regularly testing between 8 and 9 percent. Test weights have been averaging between 52 and 60 per bushel.
"I haven't heard of any yields yet, but I am hoping for 20 to 25 bushels per acre," he said.
A string of days topping 100 degrees and dry south winds gusting 30 mph or more have moved up the wheat harvest by at least two weeks.
Read more: http://www.kansas.com/2011/06/06/1881399/heat-drought-spur-early-wheat.html#ixzz1OqSH7wN5
Black Blade: We are much better off having prepared of course, however, others will pay higher prices as demand exceeds supply and the toll of inflation is felt around the world. Global competition for food could get intense and will be especially annoying for Americans and Europeans who are used to having plenty to eat. This is why we have our own long term food storage.