Drought in the Northern Plains is hurting prospects for the US spring wheat crop at the start of planting season and driving spring wheat futures prices to their highest levels in years. North Dakota, which produces roughly half of the US crop, has officially declared a state of emergency because of the drought.
US crop pressures come as spring wheat production also is threatened by drought in Canada. And recently imposed export taxes could curtail shipments from Russia. The three countries account for the bulk of global spring wheat supplies.
Gro forecasts call for continued dry conditions in the Northern Plains over the next couple of weeks. That could mean less acreage gets planted to spring wheat than the 11.7 million acres forecast in the USDA’s March Prospective Plantings report. In 2017, another drought hurt yields and reduced planted area by 300,000 acres after the USDA released its Prospective Plantings report. And this year’s drought is more severe than in 2017, according to the Gro Drought Index.
Currently, 11% of the US spring wheat crop is planted, according to this week’s USDA crop progress report. In North Dakota, where planting is 8% complete, most of the crop goes in the ground in April and May.
If dry conditions continue in the Northern Plains, farmers may run up against prevent plant dates for crop insurance, which fall at the end of May. Some growers may also turn to soybeans, which are planted later in the season. Gro’s assortment of data, including the Gro Drought Index, can help users monitor the spring wheat growing conditions.
This insight was powered by the Gro platform, which enables better and faster decisions about factors affecting the entire global agricultural ecosystem. Gro organizes over 40,000 datasets from sources around the world into a unified ontology, which allows users to derive valuable insights such as this one. You can explore the data available on Gro with a free account, or please get in touch if you would like to learn more about a specific crop, region, or business issue.