Wheat Price Forecast: Can the Grain Reverse the Downtrend?

Customers might be relieved to see wheat prices decrease from a record high in March 2022, as it will enable them to enjoy noodles, pasta, bread, and pastries at lower costs. For farmers, though, this is not good news.

Wheat prices have been on a downward trend over the past two years since reaching an all-time high of over $13 per bushel on March 8, 2022, shortly after Russia, the world’s fourth-largest wheat producer, invaded Ukraine. On March 15, 2024, wheat prices even hit their lowest point in over three years, at $5.28 per bushel, according to economic data provider Trading Economics.

Wheat Price 5-Year Performance.
Wheat Price 5-Year Performance. Source: Trading Economics

The wheat futures price has remained below $6/bushel, much lower than the 2023/24 season-average farm price of $7.10/bu in the United States, the world’s number fifth wheat producer, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

According to Reuters, on April 17, farmers in the US and elsewhere expressed concerns about their ability to break even this year with wheat prices being at multi-year lows, coupled with high costs such as equipment and transportation expenses.

Will wheat price reverse its downtrend this year and beyond? We’ll explore factors and insights from analysts that will affect the wheat price forecast.

Key Takeaways

  • Wheat supplies will remain ample this year despite stronger consumption.
  • Russia is set to increase exports due to the anticipated high output.
  • Sufficient wheat supplies could keep downward pressure on prices until 2025/2026.
  • La Nina conditions could reduce yields in the US and Argentina, tightening world supplies.

Wheat Price Forecast Summary

Year Forecast Range Key Factors
2024 $5.34/bu to $6.44/bu Higher production from Russia
2025 $4.89/bu to $7.05 Higher Russian volumes to persist

Ukraine’s export capacity expansion

Improved output from other producers

2026-2030 $8.91/BU

General sentiment: bearish

Ample supply

La Nina weather condition

Switching wheat land to soybeans for renewable diesel


Wheat Price 2023: Ample Supplies Cap Gain

Wheat futures at the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) soared to a record high at $13.6 per bushel on March 8, 2022, after Russia blockaded Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, the main passage for the country to ship its grains to the global market. Ukraine accounts for 3% of global wheat output, according to USDA.

Top Wheat Producing Countries

Top Wheat Producing Countries

However, wheat prices had rallied before Russia launched its attack on Ukraine as hot and drier weather reduced output in major producers in North America and Europe. Soaring fertilizer prices due to high natural gas prices also boosted wheat prices. Over 2021, US wheat futures gained 23.19%.

Russia’s blockade on Ukraine ports went on for four months before ending in July 2022 following the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which ensured the safe passage of grain exports from three ports in the Black Sea region during the war in Ukraine. The initiative was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.

Since the implementation of the initiative, wheat prices have slowly eased throughout 2022 as more of Ukraine’s wheat found its way back to the market. European Union and Moldova also set up Solidarity Lanes, new transportation routes to help Ukraine ship out its goods, including grains.

In 2022, wheat price gave up most of its gains but still managed to make a modest increase of 2.76%, ending the year at $7.92/bu.

However, the downtrend in wheat prices continued throughout 2023. The end of the Black Sea Grain initiative in July 2023 also did little to disrupt the flow of wheat from the region, making wheat prices continue to slide.

Higher supply from Russia had limited gains in wheat prices. According to the latest USDA estimate, Russia produced 92 million metric tons (MMT) of wheat in the 2022/2023 season, surging from 75.16MMT in the 2021/2022 season. The country’s exports also rose to 47.5MMT in 2022/2023 from 33MMT in 2021/2022.

Over 2023, wheat prices dropped more than 20%, giving up its pretty much its gains in 2022.

In the first quarter of 2024, the downtrend hasn’t yet reversed. At the time of writing on April 30, wheat is trading at $5.86/bu after touching a year-to-date-high of $6.2 on April 26. It has dropped 3.4% year-to-date (YTD).

Wheat Price YTD Performance. Source: Trading Economics
Wheat Price YTD Performance. Source: Trading Economics

Factors Influencing Wheat Prices in 2024

Before we delve into forecasting wheat prices for 2024 and beyond, let’s first examine the factors that will shape those wheat price predictions.

Global Output Seen Falling From Record but Still Above Average

Wheat production for the 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 seasons was expected to fall from the record output of 803 million tons in 2022. However, output was expected to remain above average.

The USDA, in its April outlook, predicted global wheat production for 2023/2024 to reach 787.4 million tons as higher production in the European Union, Moldova, and Pakistan compensate for the smaller crop in Tunisia.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projected on April 5 that wheat output could reach 796 million tons in 2024, a 1% growth from 2023 output.

The International Grains Council (IGC), in its latest outlook on April 18, revised down its global wheat production slightly for the 2024/2025 season to 798 million tons from 799 million tons in the previous forecast in March. Despite the slight downward revision, the output remains higher than the estimated 789 million tons production in the 2023/2024 season.

In March’s agricultural outlook, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES) also forecasted the global wheat output to reach 787 million tons in 2023/2024, falling slightly from the record wheat crop in 2022/2023 but remained above average. 

According to ABARES, the anticipated fall in output was due to lower production in major exporting countries, including Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, and the Russian Federation.

“These falls more than offset production increases in Argentina, Ukraine, and the United States,” it said.

The world’s wheat output was predicted to rebound to 798 million tons in 2024/2025 due to higher output in major exporting countries, including Australia, Canada, and the United States, according to ABARES estimate. It stated:

“While total area planted is forecast to fall due to lower prices and unfavorable conditions in some regions, higher yields will support growth in global production.”  

Robust Consumption

On the consumption side, the USDA has upwardly revised global wheat consumption to 800.1 million metric tons (MMT) from 798.97 MMT in its previous estimate in March.

This adjustment is primarily attributed to increased food, seed, and industrial (FSI) usage, which more than compensates for the slight decrease in feed and residual use. Wheat for food, seed, and industrial accounts for 80% of global wheat production.

With an anticipated higher consumption, global wheat ending stock has been revised down by 0.6MMT to 258.3MMT, the lowest in eight years, according to USDA.

Uncertainty on the Black Sea

Uncertainties on exports from the Black Sea region could serve as a tailwind for wheat prices. On July 17, 2023, Russia decided to end the Black Sea Grain Initiative, and since then, there have been uncertainties about talks to revive it.

According to the European Council’s data, nearly 33 million tonnes of grain and other foodstuffs were shipped from three Ukrainian ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Yuzhny/Pivdenny during one year of implementation of the initiative from July 2022 to July 2023 with wheat accounted for 27% of the shipment.

What Was Exported Through the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Source: European Council

The initiative also helped lower food prices significantly, as about 65% of wheat exported from the Black Sea region went to developing countries.

ABARES wrote in a report in December 2023:

“The Russian Federation’s withdrawal from the Initiative in July 2023 has added to the uncertainty surrounding Black Sea exports; this is likely to continue adding volatility to world grain markets in 2023–24, keeping international prices relatively elevated.”

In August 2023, Ukraine launched a temporary corridor in the Black Sea for trade vessels heading to and from Ukrainian sea ports despite Russia’s end to the Black Sea initiative. As of March 2024, Ukraine had shipped 5 million tons of grains, oilseeds, and other related products from the temporary corridor.

However, concerns about the flow of wheat and other grains persist as Russia keeps targeting Ukraine’s agriculture facilities. The latest one was on April 19, when Reuters reported that Russian missiles hit Pivdennyi port in Ukraine’s southern Odesa region, destroying grain storage facilities and foodstuffs they contained.

Russian Exports Challenge EU

Russian suppliers are expected to continue to keep supplies ample. According to USDA’s latest estimate, Russia was set to have another strong production of 91.5MMT in 2023/2024, a slight drop from 92MMT in the previous season. That will leave Russia with plenty of wheat to ship around the world.

In April’s grain report, USDA revised its forecast for Russia’s wheat exports by 1 million tons to 52MMT for 2023/2024.

Higher Russian wheat export has started to eat up the European Union’s share in its main markets. According to USDA, in the first seven months of the marketing year, July 2023 to January 2024, EU shipments to North Africa dropped 25% year-on-year (YoY), and shipments to the Middle East fell over 60%. North Africa and the Middle East are among the EU’s main wheat markets.

Mercantile Consulting Venture wrote in a weekly wheat outlook on April 15:

“Wheat from the European Union continues to struggle to compete on the global market. Large crops in Russia have allowed Russian wheat to dominate in markets that are traditionally filled with EU wheat.”

La Nina Impact

Weather is a vital factor that determines global wheat output. The US National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) in March forecasted a 62% chance that La Nina will develop during June-August, as reported by Reuters.

La Nina conditions were expected to lower yields in major exporters, such as Argentina and the United States, due to drier weather and low rainfall. This could lead to lower world wheat supplies and higher grain prices, according to ABARES.

ABARES projected La Nina conditions could continue in the 2025/2026 and 2028/2029 seasons. It said in its agricultural outlook:

“In the alternative scenario, an additional La Niña year assumed for 2026–27 is projected to lead to drier climate conditions in major producers other than Australia and result in lower world wheat supplies over the medium term.”

Tim Luginsland, an Agri-Food Institute Sector Manager at Wells Fargo, told Techopedia by email that the overall US crop condition ratings in the ‘good to excellent’ category have dropped recently from 55% to 50% due to dry weather.

Luginsland said:

“Additionally, dryness in Russia and reduced planting in Ukraine arincreasing wheat priceser. The current spike in spring prices is still relatively low when compared to a year ago due to large world supplies.”

Wheat Price Forecast 2024

Analyst/source Wheat Price Forecast 2024
BMI $6.33/bu
Trading Economics $5.34 at the end of Q2,  $4.89 in 12 months
Wallet Investor $6.44 (Dec)
ABARES $304/mt (US #2 Hard Red Winter)

BMI’s wheat price forecast for 2024, published on March 21, saw the grain trading at $6.33 per bushel, while Trading Economics forecasted wheat to reach $5.34/bu by the end of Q2 2024.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES), in its agricultural outlook in March, projected the price for US no. 2 Hard Red Winter wheat, the nominal world indicator price, to fall by 22% to $304 per tonne in the marketing year of October 2023/September 2024 on subdued international demand.

Hard Red Winter wheat, used to make bread flour, accounts for 40% of US wheat production, according to USDA.

Algorithm-based price forecasting service WalletInvestor, in its short-term wheat price forecast, projected that the wheat price could reach $6.44/bu by December 2024.

Wheat Price Forecast 2025

Analyst/source Wheat Price Forecast 2025
BMI $6.48/bu
Trading Economics $4.89 in 12 months
Wallet Investor $7.05/bu
ABARES $294/mt (US no. 2 Hard Red Winter wheat)

Wheat price predictions for 2025 are mixed.

In 2025, BMI expected wheat prices to trade higher at $6.48/bu compared to the estimated $6.33 for 2024.

WalletInvestor’s wheat price forecast for 2025 also saw wheat rise, reaching $7.05/bu by the end of 2025.

On the other hand, Trading Economics estimated wheat prices to continue declining in the next 12 months, trading at around $4.89/bu in the period.

Similar to Trading Economics, ABARES also expected wheat prices to trend down in the marketing year of 2024/2025. It predicted the price for US no. 2 Hard Red Winter wheat to drop by 3% to $294/ton in 2024/2025, with price volatility expected to remain subdued.

ABARES attributed the anticipated downtrend to high volumes of Russian wheat exports due to another large wheat harvest expected for 2024/2025.

Another contributing factor that could pressure wheat prices is the reduced uncertainty of grain exports from Ukraine following an expansion in export capacity via deep sea ports in the Black Sea.

In addition, production conditions in some major wheat exporting and producing countries are expected to improve, the Australian Government estimated.

Wheat Price Forecast 2026-2030

Analysts did not provide a long-term wheat price forecast for 2030. However, WalletInvestor offered wheat price predictions until 2029.

It predicted wheat prices to trade at around $8.91/bu within four years by February 2029, rising from $7.05 at the end of 2025.

Wells Fargo Agri-Food Institute’s Luginsland highlighted the increasing movement of acres away from wheat and toward soybeans to meet the evolving demand for renewables. He said:

“This product is largely derived from soybean and corn oil. Wheat prices will need to move higher in order to compete with other crops to supply the nation’s milling and baking needs.”

Without giving an exact wheat price forecast, ABARES projected the price of the grain to rebound in 2025/2026 as La Niña conditions could reduce output in major exporters, such as Argentina and the United States.

In the following 2026/2027 and 2027/2028, wheat prices were predicted to drop again as favorable growing conditions bring ample global supplies.

“Finally, prices are projected to rise in real terms at the end of the outlook period as La Niña conditions again tighten world supply,” according to ABARES in its agriculture outlook.

The Bottom Line

Wheat prices may face downward pressure until at least 2025 due to higher supplies despite strong consumption. However, prices could rebound if adverse weather conditions, such as La Niña, and possible disruptions to exports from the Black Sea region escalate.

Do your own research and always remember your investment decision depends on your attitude to risk, your expertise in the commodity market, the spread of your portfolio, and how comfortable you feel about losing money.

The information in this article does not constitute investment advice and is meant for informational purposes only.


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Fitri Wulandari
Financial Journalist
Fitri Wulandari
Financial Journalist

Fitri has over 20 years of experience in financial journalism. She has contributed to various international media outlets, including Dow Jones Newswires, Bloomberg, and Reuters, before joining Techopedia. She spent the first 15 years of her career covering commodity and energy news, later transitioning to general financial writing. These days, she conducts interviews with industry players and analysts and reports on international conferences. Fitri holds a degree in International Relations, supporting her expertise in financial journalism. She occasionally serves as a guest trainer for journalistic training and as a moderator for panel discussions.