The drought plaguing Kansas farmers may well decimate the state's wheat crop and affect other crops as well, an agriculture weather analyst said Thursday.
Telvent DTN ag meteorologist Bryce Anderson, said the drought already has taken a heavy toll on the Hard Red Winter Wheat crop, particularly in the western half of the state. Conditions are better in the eastern and northern areas, he said.
He doesn't expect that to change much this spring and summer.
"We are not optimistic that the crop west of Great Bend is going to amount to very much, at this point," he said. "We're a little more confident in the area between Wichita and Salina. For the western part of the state, and the panhandle of Oklahoma and Texas, there's still time, but that time is running out."
The USDA reported this week that 40 percent of the state wheat crop is rated as poor or very poor.
The dry conditions — caused by a powerful La Nina weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean — will persist into the summer and affect the state's corn and soybean crops, Anderson said.
The weak harvests mean that Kansas farmers would be partly left out of the benefit from the run-up in crop prices that is expected to continue at least into the summer.
Telvent DTN analyst Darin Newsom said he thought corn, soybeans and wheat prices would remain high through the spring.
He said corn prices, especially, likely will continue to rise because worldwide supplies remain tight and speculator interest remains strong. The ending stock of corn is about 5 percent.
"It's about as tight a situation as we've seen historically," he said.
The underlying support for soybeans and wheat prices is less certain, Newsom said, but still looks pretty good.
Soybean prices haven't overtaken the 2008 highs, and whether they do depends on the success of the crop in Brazil and Argentina
"I'm not as bullish as I am on corn, but I'm still bullish," Newsom said. "There's still a solid uptrend going; there's still money in the market."
Wheat has the most potential to fall in price because there are plentiful ending stocks, he said.
"I get the sense that if not for the other grains, it would be under more pressure."
An underlying factor affecting prices, he said, is alternative investments for speculators. If oil continues to shoot up in price, some of the money in grain may switch over to oil, he said.