While water is the issue for Indiana wheat, a late season blizzard hit the fields of western Kansas. The weekend precipitation that fell in parts of the western wheat belt came in the form of snow. USDA chief meteorologist Brad Rippey says the damage was significant, “Local totals were up to 12 inches of heavy snow, and the pictures I have seen show significant damage.“
Rippey said time will tell how much damage has been done, “In some cases, the stalks were broken off by the snow, and that crop is not coming back.” To make things worse, the wheat is well ahead of schedule making it even more susceptible to yield loss, “At the end of April, the crop was 42% headed, ahead of the 5 year average of 35%.”
David Schemm, President, National Association of Wheat Growers, says producers are out evaluating the damage, “It is not a case of how much damage was done, but how much we have left. That is how bad it is.” “We lost the western Kansas wheat crop this weekend. Just terrible,” tweeted Justin Gilpin, chief executive of the grower-funded Kansas Wheat Commission.
Planted wheat acreage was already at a 108 year low and, with yields reduction, U.S. production will be down even more this year. The USDA will make its first estimate of the winter wheat crop on May 10. “This weekend’s weather adds to the likelihood that world wheat production will be modestly smaller in 2017 and should help wheat prices stabilize as bearish pressures ease somewhat,” Todd Hultman DTN market analyst said.