Mounting troubles for the US winter wheat and spring wheat crops are undercutting hopes that the US will be able to significantly ease tightness in global wheat supplies due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
US farmers are expected to reduce spring wheat planted acreage in the upcoming season, as fertilizer prices soar. And dry conditions in the main spring wheat growing states of the northern Plains threaten to depress yields. In 2021, drought pushed production of the main variety, hard red spring wheat, down 44% year over year to its lowest level in more than 30 years.
Concerns about US spring wheat come on top of poor prospects for the winter wheat crop, which has just emerged from dormancy amid drought conditions in the southern Plains. Good-to-excellent crop conditions for US winter wheat, at 30%, is the lowest start to the spring season in more than two decades.
Gro’s US Hard Red Winter (HRW) Wheat Yield Forecast Model is currently pointing to a double-digit-percentage drop in production from last year. Some 40% of total US wheat production comes from hard red winter wheat, and about one-third is from spring wheat.
Forecasts for the northern Plains — including North Dakota, which accounts for roughly half of US spring wheat production — call for continued dry conditions over the next couple of weeks.
Similar dry conditions also raise concerns about spring wheat production in Canada, the world’s biggest producer of spring wheat in most years. When the growing season gets underway, Gro’s Canada Spring Wheat Yield Forecast Model provides daily yield forecasts at the district level across Canada's largest wheat-producing provinces.
Both hard red spring wheat and hard red winter wheat are high in protein and are used for breads and other baked goods. Other varieties known as soft wheats contain less protein and are generally used for cookies and pastries.