Views on commodities and energy
For farmer Dennis Shields, the fate of his new wheat crop is largely out of his control. In this first week of May – some 45-60 days from harvest – whether or not Shields makes a tidy profit or suffers a painful loss this summer is all up to the weather.
“It all depends on June,” said the 67-year-old Shields, who has been farming near Lindsborg, Kansas, more than 40 years.
If hot and dry weather settles into the U.S. Heartland as the newly emerging hard red winter wheat crop moves into the crucial grain filling period of development, kernels will likely shrivel and yield potential could shrink. But if mild conditions continue, the new crop could be a bin buster.
The crop is maturing later than normal this year with a more shallow root system due to late planting and a cooler-than-normal, wet spring, factors that have left the wheat crop more vulnerable than typical to the whims of weather.
“You get some 100-degree days … you’ll lose bushels and test weight will probably go down,” said Bob Bennett, Kansas State University grain quality specialist.