Russian Wheat Exports Forecast to Decline
World-Grain – 06/21/2019
Russia’s wheat exports have been revised downward in the 2019-20 season due to partial droughts, Reuters reported. Forecasting agencies IKAR and SovEkon both revised their estimates for the crop downward, which means Russia may lose its title as world’s largest grain exporter to Ukraine. IKAR lowered its wheat export outlook by 500,000 tonnes to 36.5 million tonnes and total grain exports by 1.4 million tonnes to 46 million tonnes. SovEkon revised wheat and total grain export outlooks down by 600,000 and 500,000 tonnes to 37.6 million and 48.9 million tonnes, respectively. Still, total wheat exports are still expected to surpass the 34.2 million tonnes exported in 2018. Total wheat harvest for 2019 is estimated at 80 million tonnes by IKAR and 82.2 million tonnes by SovEkon, compared to 72 million tonnes in 2018.
Trump Looks to Jump-Start Trade Agenda in Japan
President Donald Trump and his top trade negotiator head to the Group of 20 summit in hopes of restarting negotiations with China before the trade war escalates further while simultaneously making progress in talks with the Japanese on reducing their barriers to U.S. farm exports. Trump, who is threatening to slap tariffs on an additional $300 million in Chinese imports, plans to meet directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G-20 in Osaka, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will sit down with his Japanese counterpart to discuss a deal on agricultural trade. Lighthizer has been guarded in his expectations for the Trump-Xi discussions. “My hope is we can get back on track,” Lighthizer told lawmakers last week. “I think It’s in our interest. I think it’s in their interest. Hopefully the politics will line up over there to allow that to happen.” Ahead of the talks, USTR on Tuesday will wrap up seven days of hearings on the list of Chinese imports targeted for the next round of tariffs. They include glyphosate and many other widely used agricultural pesticides, and CropLife America President and CEO Chris Novak will appear before the agency Monday to appeal for exemptions from the 25% duties.
Scientists Develop Climate-Ready Wheat That Can Survive Drought Conditions
Phys.org – 06/24/2019
Wheat plants engineered to have fewer microscopic pores—called stomata—on their leaves are better able to survive drought conditions associated with climate breakdown, according to a new study. Scientists at the University of Sheffield’s Institute for Sustainable Food found that engineering bread wheat to have fewer stomata helps the crop to use water more efficiently, while maintaining yields. Agriculture accounts for 80-90 percent of freshwater use around the world, and on average it takes more than 1,800 litres of water to produce a single kilogram of wheat. Yet as water supplies become scarce and more variable in the face of climate breakdown, farmers will need to produce more food than ever to feed a growing population. Like most plants, wheat uses stomata to regulate its intake of carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, as well as the release of water vapour. When water is plentiful, stomatal opening helps plants to regulate temperature by evaporative cooling—similar to sweating. In drought conditions, wheat plants normally close their stomata to slow down water loss—but wheat with fewer stomata has been found to conserve water even better, and can use that water to cool itself.
Farmers Hope for Drier Conditions as Oklahoma’s Wheat Harvest Continues
The Oklahoman – 06/22/2019
Farmers are puddle jumping as they continue laboring away at bringing in this year’s winter wheat crop. But while heavy rains across much of the state have pushed harvest about two weeks behind schedule, an industry representative predicts Oklahoma still could see more wheat delivered to elevators in 2019 than the previous year — provided the weather cooperates. Still, that isn’t making the job any easier. Farmer David VonTungeln, whose family has been farming near Calumet in west-central Oklahoma for more than 100 years, said this week he can’t remember the last time fields filled with ripening wheat had seen so much rain. “We have had a cool, really wet spring,” he said. “And wheat has kind of got a mind of its own. When it gets time for it to get ripe, it gets ripe.” VonTungeln said his operation, which grew about 1,500 acres of wheat this year, usually has completed its harvest by now.
Buyers and Producers ‘Pleasantly Surprised’ by Condition of Wheat Crop
Lancaster Farming – 06/23/2019
About 20 grain buyers, mill representatives and Virginia Cooperative Extension staff inspected the quality of Virginia-grown wheat May 30 during an annual spring tour. “This event affords an opportunity to assess this year’s crop just prior to harvest and gather yield and quality information — something millers will use when planning their upcoming purchases,” said Robert Harper, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation grain manager. “It also gives us an opportunity to showcase some of Virginia’s premier wheat growers.” This is the fourth year Virginia fields have been included in the mid-Atlantic tour. Participants examined wheat on 18 farms in 10 counties in the northern piedmont, Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula to take sample test weights, estimate yields and check for signs of disease. Harper said they were “pleasantly surprised to find a crop that looks to be in line, from a yield perspective, with what Virginia normally grows.” He described the crop as “a little better than average, which is a lot to be thankful for in a year that was full of weather challenges.”
Source: U.S. Wheat Associates