Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Low Global Wheat Supply Leads to Higher Food Prices

KTVB News Channel 7 featured Idaho wheat during its 10 p.m. newscast on Tuesday, June 7. Nishi Gupta reported that the price of wheat has gone up a dollar or two per bushel, but farmers aren't cashing in.

I've been farming 33 years, and I've never experienced this," said Meridian wheat farmer Drew Eggers.

The cooler weather has made Eggers wheat crop vulnerable to a disease called striped rust.

It turns leaves from green to yellow and red, preventing sunlight from getting to the plant and eventually stopping its growth.

Eggers planted 150 acres of wheat last fall. One percent of it is damaged from stripe rust. He'll spend several thousand dollars spraying it to protect the rest from disease."When the temperature is above 75 degrees you don't usually have stripe rust problems, but with this cool wet weather that we've had this spring," said Eggers. "It's become a problem in quite a few fields in southwestern Idaho."

While we've had wet weather, large wheat growing states like Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska are experiencing a drought. Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, has put a ban on wheat exports due to its own lack of wheat supply. China and Canada are also struggling to grow the crop. All of those situations are leading to an increase in what we pay at the store.

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