Wheat near done flowering, prices could also bloom

CNS Canada –– Weather-related issues ranging from floods to drought have been putting wheat crops at risk globally, bringing potential for prices to move higher.

Traders are watching to see how the crop in Canada will shape up, given recent dryness in the West, according to Jonathon Driedger, senior market analyst at FarmLink Marketing Solutions.

“As our production numbers come down a little bit, it starts to tighten up the world wheat market,” he said.

Heat and dryness have put crops in Europe at risk, and heavy rains in the U.S. Midwest have helped push wheat prices higher.

Since the bulk of Canada’s wheat is exported, it’s important to watch values and to stay competitive.

Statistics Canada’s intentions report for June estimated Saskatchewan’s seeded area at 13.04 million acres, Alberta’s at 6.815 million and Manitoba’s at 3.205 million.

Premiums are offered for higher-protein wheat because it’s more desirable for exporting.

“In terms of premium wheat yield, so far things look a lot better than they did last year. Only time will tell in terms of quality, of course,” said Shannon Friesen, a crops specialist in Moose Jaw with Saskatchewan’s ministry of agriculture.

Some of Manitoba’s wheat crops were hurt by storms in the first weekend of July, said Pam de Rocquigny, a cereal crop specialist with Manitoba’s ag ministry in Carman.

Producers are waiting to see if the storms caused lodging in the crop, she said.

If lodging occurs it would affect both the quality and yield of the crop. Depending on how well the crops recover, they will start to stand more upright, de Rocquigny said.

Both winter wheat and spring wheat are near done flowering and starting to move into the grain filling stage.

It’s too soon to know what impact diseases such as fusarium head blight and stripe rust will have, but farmers are watching for signs of disease.

“We might see some indications, particularly with fusarium head blight symptoms showing up within the field; that gives us a possible indication there could be issues with the quality of the crop,” she said.

Saskatchewan’s dry spell has caused crops to head out earlier than expected, Friesen said, but right now disease is on the forefront when farmers inspect their crops — especially since their weather has turned more humid.

“We haven’t seen too much just yet, but producers are wondering whether they should spray for fusarium or not.”

Jade Markus writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

 

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