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Wheat growers: 'What are you waiting for?'

Frayne Olson, North Dakota State University ag economist, urged farmers to take advantage of near record wheat prices. See the full video below.

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A grasshopper perches on a drought-stressed spring wheat plant near Bowdon, North Dakota, on July 28, 2021. Karl Plume / Reuters

When farmers call North Dakota State University ag economist Frayne Olson what they should do with the wheat that is in the bin, Olson has one question for them: "What are you waiting for?"

Olson, in NDSU's monthly Ag Market and Situation Outlook on Nov. 10, urged farmers to take advantage of near record wheat prices.

"We have near record highs on the futures market, we've got exceptionally tight basis levels for old crop wheat," Olson said. "I just don't see a lot of additional upside lift . . . into the spring wheat market beyond what we have right now."

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Frayne Olson, North Dakota State University

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Olson said elevators are buying spring wheat based off the March Minneapolis futures contract, which has been trading in the neighborhood of $10.35 per bushel. He compared that to the September 2022 futures contract for new crop wheat, which has been trading below $9 per bushel, which he called a "very big price differential."

Prices are rivaling those from 2008, a year Olson called "an anomaly."

Spring wheat has been losing ground to corn and soybean in its traditional growing region of North Dakota and Minnesota, and a drought in those areas didn't help supply.

"U.S. spring wheat crop was smaller than expected, but also the Canadian crop was smaller than we had expected, so that's putting a lift or some some upward movement into this old crop wheat," Olson said.

Olson and other NDSU economists also discussed the corn and soybean markets, strong margins for ethanol producers, backgrounding cattle and other topics.

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