Wheat Rises as Cold U.S. Weather May Slow Crop Development

Wheat rose on speculation that cold weather in U.S. growing areas may slow development of plants that have begun to emerge from the ground.

Plant germination for some spring wheat sown early in the northern Great Plains may be delayed by temperatures that have dropped below freezing, Telvent DTN Meteorologist Joel Burgio said in a report today. Frigid weather in Illinois and Indiana, where wheat is emerging after lying dormant during the winter, may hurt crops, Chicago-based QT Weather said.

“It probably got cold enough that there’s going to be some talk about damage in the Dakotas,” Mike Zuzolo, the president of Global Commodity Analytics in Lafayette, Indiana, said in a telephone interview. The temperature fell to 21 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 6 degrees Celsius) yesterday in Montana, and “that’s where the heart and soul of these bullish fundamentals lie,” he said.

Wheat futures for July delivery climbed 0.2 percent to close at $6.335 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price has dropped 2.9 percent this year on speculation that production in the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter, will increase because of favorable weather.

The lowest temperature recorded in the U.S. yesterday was 9 degrees Fahrenheit in Tioga, North Dakota. About 17 percent of spring wheat was planted in the state, the biggest U.S. producer of wheat, as of April 8, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. About 52 percent was seeded in South Dakota, according to the USDA.

“We’re in uncharted territory as far as how rapid we’re trying to put this wheat in the ground,” Zuzolo said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony C. Dreibus in London at tdreibus@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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