Wheat Rises as Worst Drought Since 1930s Dust Bowl Era Persists

Wheat futures rose for the second time in three sessions on renewed concern that the worst U.S. drought since the 1930s is eroding prospects for crops in the southern Great Plains.

Little or no rain has fallen in parts of south-central Kansas and north-central Oklahoma in the past three months, according to the National Weather Service. As much as 25 percent of the wheat crop may go unharvested this year, when farmers begin collecting grain in June, analysts have said.

“It’s still dry out here, and there’s no moisture in the forecast,” Jamey Kohake, a broker and branch manager at Paragon Investments in Silver Lake, Kansas, said in a telephone interview. “The market should move higher from here.”

Wheat futures for March delivery gained 0.4 percent to $7.825 a bushel at 10:26 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price gained 19 percent last year, the most among 24 commodities tracked by Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index.

The U.S. is the world’s biggest wheat exporter. The crop is the country’s fourth-largest, valued at $14.4 billion in 2011, behind corn, soybeans and hay, government data show.

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