The war between Russia and Ukraine has affected the global supply of wheat, leading to a looming shortage. I know you might be wondering why this is the case. Did you know that Russia is the largest exporter of wheat grain, the USA in second place, and Ukraine in fifth? The predicted shortage has tempted many farmers in the USA to shift to wheat farming and sparked new interest in farmland to plant the crop. Most people are unsure whether they should go ahead and purchase farmland for wheat farming.
What does wheat farming entail?
Wheat is a cereal grain that is the raw material for bread, cakes, pasta, and pastries. Some farmers also use part of it as animal feed. With the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, which are among the top exporters of wheat, prices continue to rise. You might be thinking, why should people suffer, yet we have farmland in the USA where we can plant more wheat for export. The thought has crossed many farmers’ minds, yet most have not taken any action to produce more wheat. Why is this the case? Before we go into the details, let us share a few tips on wheat farming.
Lucrative wheat farming depends on the soil, area, and class of wheat that varies by region. There are two wheat planting seasons.
The first is between September and October during the fall. Classes of wheat planted during this period are called winter wheat. They include hard, red, and soft red. Once planted, it goes into dormancy during winter and starts to grow in spring. The harvest period is from late May through to summer. The second planting season happens during spring between April and May. The type of wheat planted during this season is the hard, red spring and durum, harvested in August.
What challenges would I face in purchasing wheat farmland now?
When you review the planting seasons above, we are already past those for the 2022 harvest. Therefore, if you plan to cover the looming shortage this year, it might be a bit late.
Unfortunately, for any planting done from now, the harvests will be in 2023. The next planting season is in September, and the harvest period is in May. If you are planting for the first time, involving a farmland professional would be the best idea. They will help in soil sampling and let you know which wheat variety works best for the soil in the region.
A second thing to remember is the importance of crop rotation. It is one thing to produce wheat in bulk, but another to ensure it is the right size and quality. The wheat quality will determine its selling price and the income generated. No farmer intends to make losses from their farms. Confirming grain quality is paramount. Plant rotation helps to maintain healthy soil. To achieve optimum results, you require advice from a professional on the best crops to rotate. Despite the looming shortage, some farmers intend to continue with crop rotation. The fear is that replanting the wheat instead of the expected plant might degrade the soil fertility.
The value of farmland continues to increase, pushing the prices higher each year. It had brought in a challenge of land affordability for purchase or rent. As much as farmers want to increase the yield and curb the shortage, the cost makes it difficult to do so. The high cost of living has pushed fertilizer and fuel prices higher. Farmers might want to focus on more wheat production, but the production cost is unfavorable. It makes them decide to concentrate on the farmland they currently have. Why would you add an extra cost, and are challenges due to high production costs?
We can all attest that global warming is affecting our weather patterns. Farmers are experiencing a challenge in predicting the weather and incorporating irrigation to avoid poor or no yield.
All the above factors should not scare you if you plan to invest in farmland to grow wheat. The USA is the second exporter in the world. It should be a clear indication that, amidst the challenges, wheat farming is doing well here. The best advice would be strategy is the key to successful farming. When you are strategic, you have time to evaluate the options before deciding where to buy land and what plants to grow.
To answer your question about whether this is the best time, this goes back to what is your ultimate goal? “Do you only want to plant wheat to make money during this shortage phase?” “Is wheat farming something you intend to venture into for the long haul?” Once your goal is clear, you will know whether to invest in farmland or plant wheat.
Wheat farming will continue to thrive because of the rising population. A second reason is a growing need for cereal grain in producing various products. If you plan to venture into farming, you should analyze all the available options. It will ensure the farmland you invest in will be ideal for all the crops you intend to plant in it. Do not forget to run an assessment on the soil to know if it is best suited for the crops you intend to rotate on the farm.
You might be wondering how to do this, yet you are not a farm expert. Advantage Realty & Land Management is ready to support and guide you through soil sampling, crop plans, and land fertility advice. Do not worry about making the wrong decision. We will share a farm plan for you to review that aligns with your goals and objectives. Include us in your land purchase plan, and we will help you through the budget. If you are interested in making intelligent farmland decisions, talk to us! You will have the advantage, and the head start you need!
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