Australia, US, EU stoke fears over parched wheat

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
By Paul Martin

US farm officials have warned of a “critical” need for rain for winter wheat, while fears are growing for Australia’s main grain state, as dryness emerges as an increasing threat to hopes for a jump in world wheat production.

The state of Western Australia has, on the eve of the state’s winter grains planting season, warned of “emerging evidence” that rainfall for the next three months “will be lower than normal” over the south of the state.

The caution cuts hopes of an end to drought in a state which has typically produced roughly 40% of Australian wheat, but where soil moisture levels are, in the central agricultural belt, all-but zero, and exceed average levels only in a small area to the north of the state.

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