While much of the Midwest is getting rain they don't need, the winter wheat crop in the Southwest is suffering from a lack of moisture. Crop condition reports are starting to show how the lack of rain is affecting the crop. In Kansas 17% of the crop is rated in poor to very poor shape, Oklahoma's crop is 25% and in Texas the number is over half.
"That crop has been hit by dry conditions, windy conditions, and lack of rain and snowfall through the winter," USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey says. "And that crop was poorly established last fall, so we have a series of problems that have stacked up over a period of months."
Rippey says a rough estimate of U.S. production that is in the very dry areas of the Central and Southern High Plains is about 10%. While that doesn't seem like much in a normal year, this is not a normal year.
Wheat stocks are at all-time lows and there are problems in other wheat growing areas around the world. China suffered through severe snowstorms earlier this year and is downgrading their production estimates further because of very dry conditions. While forecasts are for Australia's wheat production to rebound this year there is no guarantee. Also Canada is concerned about their winter wheat crop. There was very little snow cover in southern regions of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and winterkill could reduce the crop anywhere from 10% to 50%.