Wet weather is preventing farmers in the Northern Plains from planting the spring wheat crop, prized for a high protein content crucial for baking bread. Growers in the southern Plains and western Europe have had the opposite problem, as drought cuts output in the other major regions where high-quality wheat is grown.
Futures prices for hard red winter wheat at the Kansas City Board of Trade are about 90% higher than year-earlier levels and are climbing back toward the two-and-a-half-year highs reached in February.
Conditions for planting spring wheat look poor heading into June, as rains will keep fields soggy, according to meteorologists. Farmers in North Dakota, the biggest spring wheat-growing state, had only planted 34% of the crop as of May 22, well behind the five-year average of 85%.