This week, Russia bombed key Ukrainian ports – crippling major wheat exports. It also pulled out of a key agreement that allowed the export of Ukrainian grain. That’s spiking U.S. wheat futures prices on soft red winter wheat just as the Northwest starts to harvest.
Light wheat is a problem this summer harvest in the Northwest. Farmers say the plants are stressed by heat and little rain. A fresh U.S. Department of Agriculture report says winter wheat crops in the Northwest are forecast to be down this year.
Even with all the rain and snow in California this winter, it’s been pretty dry in our region, especially in much of eastern Oregon and parts of eastern Washington. For wheat farmers, that means there could be some nail-biting months ahead.
The price of wheat has been fluctuating wildly in the last few weeks because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The volatility in the market, the high cost of fertilizer and gas prices, and the ongoing drought are adding to uncertainty for northwest growers.
Most of the wheat from the Northwest travels the world, where it's eaten in countries like Japan, China, the Philippines and Indonesia. But it’s also being enjoyed much closer to the fields where it is grown.