Spring wheat futures hit 14-year high on American planting woes

Megan Durisin

Spring wheat futures surged to a 14-year high as soggy fields delay plantings across the northern U.S. and Canada.

Farmers across the North American growing region have been sidelined by snowstorms and flooding so far this spring. North Dakota and Manitoba could see showers return starting Saturday, further slowing fieldwork after a brief respite, according to World Weather Inc. Only 19% of the U.S. crop had been planted as of May 1, trailing average.

The challenges there are compounding a slew of weather concerns across global growers, risking wheat supplies at a time when trade has already been upended by the war in Ukraine. India's harvest has been hampered by heat, and winter-wheat areas of the U.S. Plains have been plagued by drought. France is also due for summer-like stretch next week.

Spring wheat futures in Minneapolis rose as much as 0.7% to $12.1875 a bushel, the highest since March 2008. In Chicago, soft red winter wheat futures are also poised for a weekly gain.

Supplies of the spring variety, prized for its high protein content, are already in short supply after lengthy droughts hurt last year's harvests. Canada on Friday said its wheat stocks were 39% below the prior year at the end of the first quarter.

Meanwhile, corn headed for its first weekly loss since early April, as drier weather helps U.S. plantings rebound from their sluggish start. A dry stretch means corn and soy seeding could surge in most of the Midwest over the next week, Commodity Weather Group said in a note.