Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Debts of the Spenders: Wheat Fungus Threatens Harvest in Midwest

Before traders get excited, please keep in mind that the overall macro picture for wheat remains bullish w/supply more than ample throughout the world. But this is something to be aware of going into the summer season. Especially if ENSO conditions remain wet.

Devastating Plant Disease Wounds US Winter Wheat Crop

An extremely wet spring has put many U.S. winter wheat fields at high risk of developing Fusarium head blight, a plant disease that can cause tremendous losses in grain yield and quality, also referred to as scab.

Fusarium head blight directly affects the developing heads of wheat, causing yield loss and negatively affecting grain quality. It is estimated that scab has caused more than $3 billion in losses to the U.S. farm economy since 1990. The U.S. Wheat & Barley Scab Initiative has warned that infections of the Fusarium graminearum fungus, which causes scab, are currently “quite high” in some Midwest wheat fields, after reaching “very worrisome levels” in southern
wheat fields earlier this spring. The initiative is a 12-year-old group that promotes communication and research between scientists, growers, input providers, millers, and food processors interested in combating the disease.

All wheat-growing regions in Kentucky have been affected by scab this year, with the western third of the state being hardest hit.

University of Kentucky extension plant pathologist Don Hershman termed the situation “ugly,” adding that “some fields have been destroyed, due to excess scab.” Wheat in parts of Arkansas, normally one of the top-two SRW producing states, appears to have been severely impacted by
scab this year, due to an extended period of spring rains that suddenly halted a period of warm, dry, windy weather.

Source: CME News For Tomorrow
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