By Joanna Levin

THE US wheat market enjoyed mild support early last week as buyers sought cover for near months. Prices rose further on fears that bad weather could threaten spring wheat in the Canadian prairie and North Dakota.

Out in the fields, however, US farmers are well ahead of the game. USDA officials estimate that 12% of spring plantings are completed, compared with 4% last week, 3% last year and 6% on average. And experts are also forecasting a near-record winter wheat harvest.

The oversupplied market remains jittery, reacting closely to changes in weather forecasts during the planting season. Prices ended sideways on the week and the May wheat contract closed yesterday (20 April) at 298.6¢/bushel, almost unchanged on a week ago.