Scott: Wheat trend bound to turn upward

Associate Editor

CENTREVILLE, Md. (Aug. 9, 2016) — Although there’s been a drop in Maryland’s harvested wheat acreage this year, worldwide consumption is trending upward, and a serious crop failure somewhere in the world is bound to boost U.S. prices soon, said Jason Scott, chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates, late last month.
The USDA has forecasted about 260,000 wheat acres in Maryland to be harvested this year, down from 270,000 last year, data shows. The decrease was discussed briefly during a grain leaders panel at the Maryland Commodity Classic on July 28.
Since 2012, worldwide ending stocks have increased each year on the backs of four record crops in a row (if this year’s is realized), said Scott, an Eastern Shore grain farmer.
“That can’t go on forever,” he told The Delmarva Farmer.
Global wheat production is projected to set a record of 738 million metric tons in 2016-17 with global wheat supplies estimated to hit a new record of 983 million metric tons, according to a July report from U.S. Wheat Associates, which markets American wheat across the globe.
Many countries are boosting production. The United States is projected to produce 61.5 million, 10 percent above last year, and Russia’s 65 million is 22 percent above its five-year average, the report said. Consumption continues to increase as well. Japan will consume nearly 7 million metric tons, a 1 percent increase over the previous year, and feed wheat usage in China should grow to 15 million, a 43 percent boost.
U.S. consumption should rise 15 percent year over year to 36.2 million.
Worldwide production has risen from nearly 600 million metric tons in 2006-07 to nearly 750 million projected in 2016-17, the report said. Wheat usage has trended similarly in that time from more than 600 million to 729 million.
But a crop failure could help ailing wheat prices, which have fallen steadily since 2012, Scott said.
“Wheat’s a great crop for Maryland because can double-crop soybeans after it,” he said.
In other Commodity Classic news, a regional soybean research consortium that involves the Maryland Soybean Board plans to begin funding research projects next year, said William Layton, a Dorchester County farmer and board chairman.
The consortium was organized to leverage soybean checkoff money, reduce redundancy and prioritize local research in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.