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Weather and Prices Favor Mississippi's '95 Wheat
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An untimely freeze in leading wheat-producing states and ideal weather in Mississippi are encouraging signs for the state's wheat growers.
Recent rains provided about 1 to 3 inches of rain to help the wheat crop toward harvest near June 1. With little to zero disease problems thus far, growers will watch extra closely after the rains and hope for drying conditions.
"If favorable conditions continue, the yield potential is quite good," said Dr. Ted Miller, extension agronomist at the Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. "Growers should be on the lookout for diseases unless the crop dries out fast and drier conditions follow this recent rain."
Robert Martin, area agronomist in Sharkey, Issaquena, Washington and South Bolivar counties, said the wheat crop has benefitted from several missed rains.
"Wheat likes a dry spring. The recent rain should be all it needs to make the crop. Diseases will be a concern until the crop reaches maturity," Martin said.
Wheat prices have moved moderately higher in recent weeks. July futures traded at their highest level since mid-October when prices reached $3.58 per bushel on April 11. The $3.58 is within 6 cents of the life-of-contract high for July futures.
Dr. Bob Williams, interim state leader of the extension agriculture and natural resources program at Mississippi State University, said one factor pushing prices higher is the recent freeze damage in Kansas and Oklahoma. These two states are major producers of wheat, and significant damage there has a sizable impact on production.
"Because of this fairly favorable price, our farmers should be pricing 1995 wheat now," Williams said. "As we move closer to our harvest season, farmers might consider getting as much as 50 to 60 percent of the expected 1995 crop priced."
Williams, an agricultural economist, said because of fairly small wheat stocks, growers could see a decent rally in wheat following the harvest similar to the increase in 1994.
"It might be wise to have some wheat, possibly 35 to 40 percent, to sell on that possible rally," Williams said.
The economist said the weaker dollar continues to be a plus for export numbers that should end up slightly higher than a year ago.
Mississippi growers planted about 200,000 acres of wheat last fall. That's 11 percent more than the previous year.