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Parched Hard Red Wheat Belt In Western U.S. Looks For Rain

CHICAGO/REUTERS

Light rain hit the eastern areas of the U.S. Hard Red Winter wheat belt Nov. 17 but the parched western region stayed dry, raising concern the crop will not be well established before winter, a forecaster said.

“It will stay unfavourably dry over a good percentage of the crop belt, 40 per cent or so is quite dry,” Mike Palmerino, an ag meteorologist with Telvent DTN, said.

Palmerino was referring to the western third of Kansas to eastern Colorado to southwestern Kansas.

Temperatures also are expected to turn chilly next week with lows dipping to the mid-teens to -9 to -6 C.

“The turn to cold weather could prevent any further establishment of this crop as we go into dormancy,” Palmerino said.

That is the greatest concern of wheat watchers as yields could be hurt if the crop fails to develop a strong stand before the harsh U.S. winter sets in.

The Midwest and Mississippi Delta Soft Red Winter wheat areas are improving after recent rains, Palmerino said.

The Midwest and Delta extended forecast calls for near to below-normal temperatures and rainfall.

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