Wheat plantings could fall to a record low this year in Ohio despite a record-high insurance price guarantee, as incessant rains stalled wheat seedings in the top growing state of the soft red winter variety.
Wheat acres left fallow this winter are likely to be planted with corn in the spring, crop experts said, as corn futures remain at a historically high premium over wheat.
Lofty wheat stocks and a possible increase in wheat seedings in the U.S. mid-south region should minimize the impact of lower acreage in Ohio while poor export demand should leave ample supplies for domestic millers.
Fifty-five per cent of Ohio s wheat crop was planted at the beginning of the week, down from the normal planting pace of more than 80 per cent, the U.S. Agriculture Department said.
The RMA set the projected price guarantee of $8.20 per bushel of wheat in Ohio, topping the previous record of $7.93 per bushel in 2008.
That should give farmers some incentive to plant beyond the deadline. Insurance protection decreases after the deadline but still helps farmers guard against crop loss or price declines.
Nearly a foot of rain has fallen in the past two months in Ohio, more than double average rainfall during the past 30 years, according to the National Weather Service.
Winter wheat is best planted in the short window after insects die off for the year and before the ground freezes. But soil temperatures are already declining and more rain is forecast next week.
It s not a good scenario and it becomes increasingly harder to dry out fields at this time of year because you lose the sun, said DTN Meteorlogix forecaster Mike Palmerino.
Many Ohio farmers rotate crops of SRW wheat after soybeans, but late plantings and recent rains have pushed Ohio s soy harvest behind other major U.S. soy-producing states.
I wouldn t be surprised if we planted half as much wheat as normal, said Stan Smith, an extension agriculture program assistant at Ohio State University in Fairfield County, where he has worked for 25 years.
Big acreage loss
USDA will not update its U.S. winter wheat acreage forecast until early next year but Ohio could lose as many as 200,000 acres of wheat, said Rich Feltes, grains analyst at R.J. O Brien in Chicago.
A drop of that many acres would put Ohio winter wheat acreage at a record low, USDA data shows. Farmers earlier this year in Ohio harvested 850,000 acres of winter wheat.
SRW wheat has some of the lowest protein content of wheat varieties and its flour is used in the baking of biscuits, cakes and muffins.
This year, wheat futures at the Chicago Board of Trade fell below corn for the first time since 1996 and stand at a historic discount to corn due to plentiful global wheat stocks and tight corn supplies.
The market certainly is not sending farmers a signal to plant more wheat and the weather in Ohio is not letting them plant wheat even if they wanted to, said Greg Johnson, a grain buyer at The Andersons, a major wheat buyer.
Wheat acres are going to be down, it s just a question of how much.
Wheat has become very much the third wheel behind corn and soybeans as far as profitability, said Barry Ward, a farmer and also an extension economist at Ohio State University.
The market certainly is not sending farmers a signal to plant more wheat and the weather in Ohio is not letting them plant wheat even if they wanted to.