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Marketplace Morning Report

Ethanol, bad weather boost wheat

Jeremy Hobson Jul 24, 2007
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Doug Krizner: The price of wheat is near record highs. Droughts and heat around the world have cut global supplies. Jeremy Hobson reports on how American wheat farmers expect to cash in.


Jeremy Hobson: World wheat supplies are at 26-year lows. That’s partly because farmers have been switching crops to corn to cash in on ethanol.

It’s also because of severe weather conditions across the globe, says Joe Sowers, a market analyst at U.S. Wheat Associates.

Joe Sowers: Well, you have drought, you have flood, you have baking-hot conditions, you have a freeze… So yeah, every single kind of weather problem that can be had has been seen this year.

And seen in big wheat producing regions from Australia to the Black Sea. Much of the U.S., on the other hand, has had a great year, and farmers planted more wheat because of high futures prices.

Professor Mike Woolverton at Kansas State University says that means the U.S. has the most wheat on hand for export.

Mike Woolverton: So for the next six to eight weeks, the United States will be the primary exporter to the world of wheat.

That, plus record-high price forecasts, could spell big money for wheat growers.

In Washington, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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