According to Reuters, farmers in Kansas, the biggest U.S. producer of wheat used to make bread, are abandoning their crops after a severe drought and damaging cold ravaged farms.
They are intentionally spraying wheat fields with crop-killing chemicals and claiming insurance payouts more than normal, betting the grain is not worth harvesting, Reuters found on a three-day tour of the state. Other growers are turning over dismal-looking fields to cattle for grazing.
Abandoning fields will lead to a smaller U.S. wheat supply in the world's No. 5 wheat exporter, with stocks seen falling to a 16-year low. High rates of abandonment deal an economic blow to farm towns and force wheat buyers to adjust procurement plans by buying the staple grain elsewhere.
Nationally, winter-wheat farmers plan to abandon 33% of the acres they planted, the highest percentage since World War I, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a May 12 report.
Kansas farmers are expected to abandon about 19% of the acres planted last autumn, up from 10% last year and 4% in 2021, according to the report. But farmers, grain traders, and representatives of major food companies who traversed the state on an annual crop tour last week warn of an even greater percentage of unharvested acres.
Read the full Reuters article here.