Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Debts of the Spenders: Monster Wheat Crop for 2009?

Bearish for wheat if true. But the conclusiver reports will come from USDA reports.

US Wheat Tour: First Day Shows “Monster” Yield Potential

Field surveys on the first day of the Wheat Quality Council’s annual U.S. spring wheat tour showed the crop has the potential to produce the highest yield in years, scouts said.

Based on surveys on 165 fields Tuesday, the average yield calculated for hard red spring wheat was 45.7 bushels per acre, up from the 37.6 bushels last year. That is the highest yield calculated on the first day of the tour since at least 2001, according to data from the council.

“This obviously is a monster crop so far on the first day,” a veteran tour scout said. The tour’s estimate for the day seemed to be “right on” in reflecting the crop’s strong potential, said Ben Handcock, executive vice president of the council. HRS wheat, used to make bread, benefited from “great subsoil moisture” after a wet spring, he said. Cool weather this summer also has given the crop time to develop after being planted late due to the wet, cool spring.
“I think it’s a tremendous crop, Handcock said.

The 2009 Hard Spring Wheat and Durum Tour kicked off Tuesday morning from Fargo, N.D., as about 55 crop scouts - including representatives of the milling and baking industries, universities, grain groups and the media - fanned out on different routes across North Dakota.

Some routes also stretched into western Minnesota and northern South Dakota. Scouts met up in Mandan, N.D, to compare notes. In addition to HRS wheat, crop scouts surveyed five fields of durum, used to make pasta, and 14 fields of hard red winter wheat, used to make bread. The average calculated yield for HRW wheat was 49.3 bushels, up from 45.9 bushels last year.

The average calculated yield for durum was 44.2 bushels, up from 27.4 bushels last year. Scouts expect to see more durum fields Wednesday. HRS wheat and durum yields last year
were hurt by hot, dry weather in western North Dakota. By contrast, wetness in the west this year is expected to help boost North Dakota’s production.

In general, wheat had minor problems with diseases like smut and tan spot but did not show serious disease pressure, scouts said. There were reports of dry topsoil in some areas, including parts of eastern North Dakota that have not seen much rain lately, they said.

A scout on one route that headed south from Fargo and then west into Ransom, Lamoure and Logan counties said moisture looked “a little bit short, but it didn’t look like the plants were suffering from it.” A scout who headed north from Fargo said conditions looked dry heading into Griggs County and that wheat “looked stressed a little bit.”

There were reports of pests in wheat fields, including grasshoppers, aphids and wheat stem maggots. They can reduce grain quality and yield by eating away at plants, but the infestations were described as minor. HRS wheat is generally less mature than normal this year due to the late planting and cool summer, scouts said.

Many estimated it would be about four weeks until the spring wheat harvest could begin. Winter wheat, meanwhile, is nearly ready to cut, they said. The delayed planting of spring wheat was evident as scouts saw “unevenness” in the crop as the tour headed west from Fargo, a veteran scout said. The health of fields also looked “widely variable” because some farmers applied fungicides and ample fertilizer while others did not, one producer on the tour said.

Handcock said he expected scouts on Wednesday would continue to see generally good-looking wheat. Tour participants will depart Mandan and meet up in Devils Lake, N.D., to compare notes after a second full day of surveys.

The tour concludes Thursday in Fargo with the release of final yield estimates around 3:45 p.m. EDT. The tour does not issue a production estimate.

Source: CME News For Tomorrow
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