The Washington Post

U.S. wheat could relieve shortfalls

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The United States is poised to deliver a bumper spring wheat crop in the upcoming weeks, which, if realized, could help relieve global shortfalls caused by turmoil in the Black Sea.

Fields in North Dakota, the top producing U.S. state, are forecast to yield a record high 49.1 bushels per acre of the grain, according to the final estimate of a three-day crop tour led by the Wheat Quality Council. North Dakota makes up about half of the nation’s spring wheat crop.

The world is counting heavily on American farm supplies to help refill grain silos as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to put more than a quarter of global wheat exports at risk. While all signs now point to an ample harvest, weather woes caused growers to plant the crop later than normal. The timing has made the wheat highly vulnerable to late-season problems that could still hurt production.

“We might have good yield potential right up until the day we get an early frost,” said Neal Fisher, administra­tor of the North Dakota Wheat Commission.

This year’s spring wheat has been under close watch for potential problems after plantings were slowed by downpours and flooding throughout the northern Plains. The delays followed last year’s severe drought that shrank harvests in both the U.S. and Canada.

Farmers were able to catch up, however, and largely favorable weather since then has eased supply worries. The crop tour’s outlook for North Dakota is slightly below the U.S. Department of Agricultur­e’s initial yield estimate of 51 bushels an acre, which would be a jump from last year’s 33.5 bushels an acre.

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