High-Quality Wheat May Be in Short Supply on Rain, Martell Says

High-quality wheat may be “in short supply” in the 2010-2011 season after rain hurt crops in Australia and Europe and dry weather curbed production in Russia, forecaster Gail Martell said.

Wet weather in eastern Australia has delayed harvesting, with southern New South Wales and Victoria receiving more than 100 millimeters (3.9 inches) of rain in November, three times the normal amount, the head of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin-based Martell Crop Projections said in a report today.

“Very wet conditions in Australia have bogged down the harvest while threatening crop quality,” Martell said. “There is more bad weather news, indicating high-quality wheat may be in short supply in 2010-2011.”

While some wheat in Australia’s east may be downgraded to feed quality because of excess rain, low rainfall in Western Australia during the growing season caused “devastating losses” and a “very poor” harvest in the country’s top producing state, according to Martell.

“With drought, wheat quality is apt to be very good, but sharply lower supplies would be available for export in 2010-2011,” Martell said.

A “super-wet harvest” in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary this year damaged wheat quality in those countries, meaning higher-quality grain from France and the U.K. “is flying off the shelf,” Martell said.

U.S. winter wheat planted for next year’s harvest needs more rain, while a La Nina weather effect may mean drought will persist through the winter in the Great Plains, Martell said. Wheat in Russia’s Volga region was planted a month late, resulting in “very delayed” development there, she said.

“On the positive side, Black Sea wheat is making gains with warm temperatures in southern Russia and an extended fall growth period,” the forecaster said.

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