Fewer Amber Waves of Grain this Fourth?

Jul 5, 2022

U.S. wheat is on the world stage these days…

Things have been challenging for U.S. wheat farmers this year. Variable weather conditions, crazy input prices, inflation, and the war in Ukraine haven’t made life easy on any of them.

No happy medium: Western Nebraska is facing its third year of abnormally dry to drought conditions. Meanwhile, farmers in the Dakotas (and western Canada) have had a very wet and chilly spring, meaning a shorter growing season and yield decreases.

Texas panhandle farmers saw less than half an inch of moisture during their growing season. Parts of Oklahoma are equally as dry, while others received more than 11 inches of rain during the month of May alone.

Spring planting levels are at their lowest since 1986, FBN Chief Economist Kevin McNew said. An estimated 28% of winter wheat seeded in fall 2021 “will be abandoned,” according to a USDA farmer survey.

While it’s not the best year, it’s not the worst either. In Oklahoma, early season dryness had an impact on much of the crop. One farmer said his crop is 40% below the strong yields he and others in his region experienced in 2021, but overall everyone is thankful to be harvesting—and to still be surpassing the region’s poor harvests from 2011 and 2018.

Soundbite: “I have nothing to complain about. It really hurts to not have a crop whenever you have a good price. We just hope for a better year for everybody next year,” southern Oklahoma farmer Jimmy Kinder said.