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Published January 09, 2012, 12:11 PM

Wheat faces challenges in 2012

Wheat, North Dakota’s most prominent crop, faces competitive pressure, both abroad and at home, in 2012, according to Erica Olson, marketing specialist for the North Dakota Wheat Commission.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — Wheat, North Dakota’s most prominent crop, faces competitive pressure, both abroad and at home, in 2012, a wheat industry official said.

But the outlook for high-protein, high-quality wheat is promising, said Erica Olson, marketing specialist for the North Dakota Wheat Commission.

Olson spoke Jan. 3 at the annual Lake Region Extension Roundup in Devils Lake, N.D. The two-day event, which typically draws 600 to 700 people each day, concluded Jan. 4. It was sponsored by the NDSU Extension Service and the Crop Improvement associations in six counties.

North Dakota typically leads the nation in the production of spring wheat and durum.

Olson cautioned that she doesn’t have all the answers.

“My crystal ball has never been 100 percent. And especially in recent years it gets harder and harder to predict what’s going to happen with acreage and prices,” she said.

Olson’s observations included:

n There’s no shortage of wheat in the world. “Total wheat supplies definitely are more than adequate when you look around the world.”

n However, supplies of high-protein, high-quality wheat are much more limited than the overall supply of wheat.

n Wheat production in the Black Sea region, which consists of countries that had been part of the former Soviet Union, rose substantially.

n For North Dakota farmers deciding what to plant this spring, barley, oilseeds and corn will provide strong competition to wheat.

n Even so, North Dakota farmers are expected to plant more wheat this spring than they did a year ago. However, 2011 wheat acres were limited by an exceptionally wet spring that prevented many fields across the state from being planted.

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