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Wheat Rises as U.S. Drought Threatens Winter Crops in Kansas

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Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat rose for a third straight session as the worst U.S. drought since the 1930s eroded crop conditions in Kansas, the biggest producer of winter varieties.

Fields in Kansas were rated 20 percent good or excellent as of Jan. 27, down from 24 percent on Dec. 30, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report yesterday. Parts of the state have received little rain in the past 90 days, National Weather Service data show. Crops “will deteriorate further” when they emerge from winter dormancy, forecaster Telvent DTN said today.

“The rains are all too far east to help” and prices will rise, Darrell Holaday, the president of Advanced Market Concepts in Wamego, Kansas, said by telephone. “It’s tough out here. It’s as dry as I ever remember it being for this long.”

Wheat futures for March delivery gained 0.5 percent to $7.835 a bushel at 10:43 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price has jumped 21 percent in the past year, partly as the drought in the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter of the grain, threatened crops.

In the U.S., wheat is the fourth-largest crop, valued at $14.4 billion in 2011, behind corn, soybeans and hay, government data show.

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

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

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