Wheat Market Volatility Can Create Opportunities

Some think the wheat market could be volatile for an extended time this season.

Published on: May 15, 2007

Volatility in the wheat market isn't necessarily bad for growers - not if producers can take advantage of the swings at the right time.

"Volatility can create as many opportunities as it does problems," Texas A&M Extension Economist William "Bill" Thompson of San Angelo told a crowd of wheat producers on the 2007 Tri-County Wheat Tour.

The wheat tour is an annual event during May for Taylor, Shackelford and Callahan counties.

"I think the market will be volatile for a while," Thompson said.

He noted the market could swing - and swing widely - either direction.

"Wheat could be 50 cents down (per bushel) from where it is now, or a dollar higher - depending on events," Thompson noted.

He said any additional weather problems in the Wheat Belt could impact the market, with world wheat stocks tighter than they've been in more than 35 years.

The basis may widen to 40 to 50 cents per bushel, depending on location. That's something producers should be watching. In fact, he's heard of even wider basis.

Beyond world stocks of wheat already being tight, Thompson said yet another factor is the renewable fuels market.

"They may use some wheat for ethanol in Europe," Thompson noted.

In addition, with corn prices being high, it wouldn't surprise Thompson to see some wheat being fed to livestock.

With continued momentum in corn, Thompson also expects more corn acreage - and "slightly less" wheat - next season.

Meanwhile, the Abilene region has good potential for a wheat crop this season - after suffering only minor damage from the Easter Eve freeze and snow. But veteran Taylor County Extension Agent Gary Bomar reported the Hessian fly is being found throughout the area, and is damaging some wheat.

Robert Pritz, Callahan County Extension Agent, Baird, reported the Easter Eve freeze dropped temperatures to 29 degrees at test plots - but didn't hurt wheat.