Heavy Rainfall Submerges Leading Wheat Province in China

Heavy rainfall has inundated wheat fields in China’s central Henan province, mere days before the anticipated harvest, resulting in price hikes and raising concerns about the quality of this year’s crop in the world’s largest consumer of wheat.

The downpour, which commenced during the previous week in Henan’s southern region, is causing some wheat to sprout prematurely or succumb to blight, as evidenced by videos circulating on social media and the observations of a local grain dealer.

According to the grain dealer, surnamed Li, “Wheat that is yet to be harvested is already sprouting.” (Li, Reuters, May 29)

Chinese officials anticipate a bountiful wheat harvest this year, projecting a yield at least as substantial as the previous year’s.

However, the recent favorable outlook and a surge in imports over the past few months have exerted downward pressure on prices, leading to a one-year low. This decline has attracted demand from animal feed manufacturers seeking cheaper alternatives to corn.

Nevertheless, videos shared on China’s Douyin platform reveal fields surrounding Zhumadian City submerged in water, with blackened wheat kernels serving as indications of blight.

Fusarium head blight infection renders wheat unsuitable for animal consumption due to elevated toxin risks, according to Jan Cortenbach, technical manager at Wellhope Foods.

Although the rain has partially supported prices, as stated by analyst Rosa Wang from JC Intelligence in Shanghai, the full impact will remain unclear until the rainfall subsides. Last week, the price of wheat in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, experienced a 2% increase, reaching 2,740 yuan ($396.41) per tonne on Friday.

China’s Meteorological Administration forecasts further precipitation in western Henan throughout the upcoming weekend.

In response, the Henan government has pledged assistance by facilitating the transportation of harvesters and drying equipment to farms, as reported by the provincial newspaper, the Henan Daily, on Monday.


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