U.S. Needs a Slow Winter Thaw

To avoid further damage to the U.S. wheat crop - USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber says the country needs a slow winter thaw. Cold weather across the plains has resulted in concerns about potential wheat yields. Glauber told a commodities conference in Australia that the persistence of winter has been a problem. He noted snow cover has - to some degree - protected things. But he said short-lived warm weather that melts the snow could encourage growth that could be damaged by further cold snaps. According to data released at the start of the week - the condition of the winter wheat crop has dropped as a result of frigid temperatures throughout February. Drier soils and more susceptibility to the cold resulted in the biggest decline in condition ratings coming in southern areas of the winter wheat belt. Glauber said that dryness in the southern plains is another big concern. In addition to weather-related concerns - the market has responded to tensions in Ukraine. While stating he understood the market fears - Glauber said it was too early to speculate on the impact on global trade.

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