AN EARLY start to the North American snow season has the potential to cause abandonment of late planted spring wheat crop and may also impact the corn harvest.
There has been heavy snow through the north-west of the US and through the Prairies in Canada where there is still unharvested spring wheat while the US Midwest is also markedly colder and wetter than usual for this time of year, which has implications for late-sown corn in particular.
This has the grain market watching closely to assess the full damage and whether it has ramifications for world supply and demand estimates.
Commonwealth Bank commodity analyst Tobin Gorey said while the scale of crop damage was unlikely to be substantial on a global scale it could be significant.
"When you are looking at corn, there has been a divergence between US Department of Agriculture (USDA) yield estimates and the trade ever since the late and wet planting," Mr Gorey said.
"While the current bad weather in the Midwest is not that serious as yet, the little bit it does influence here and there is bringing those yields back from the high 160 bushels an acre the USDA has forecasts closer towards the trade estimates around the mid-160s.
"This is not going to mean corn stocks get tight, but it might mean that it is a more feasible possibility than we've seen over the past couple of years."
He said the late start to the corn planting season meant the crop was maturing later than normal, which is why the early cold weather was more of an issue than it would be normally.
Mr Gorey said already the spread between corn and hard red winter wheat was at just 15 cents a bushel, the lowest for the season.
"This is unusual, as corn is in its period of heaviest supply, whereas winter wheat was harvested some time ago.
"With these figures it is easy to get HRW into the feed ration which would work through the big inventory of that product."
Moving forward, the world is looking at southern hemisphere crops with increasing concern.
There are dryness issues in Argentina, while forecasters are rapidly winding back Australian crop prospects.
Peter McMeekin, Grain Brokers Australia, this week predicted a national wheat crop of just 15.75 million tonnes, lower than last year's drought hit harvest of 17.5m tonnes.
A lowering of yield estimates in Western Australia and South Australia in particular are behind his bearest estimate which would be the lowest since 2008.
Mr McMeekin said there would be also be a marked shift in crop composition, with Western Australia set to drop by a whopping 5m tonnes, but South Australia, Victoria and NSW to rise by as much as 3m tonnes.
It will mean a change in the dynamic in regards to domestic demand, with more grain moving from SA and Victoria to feed grain using regions in Queensland and northern NSW and less coming across from Western Australia.
Grain producers are unlikely to receive any good late season news on the weather front either.
There is virtually no rain forecast for the critical mid-October period, meaning many regions in southern Australia, which had reasonable yield potential at the start of September, will receive negligible rainfall for the first three weeks of October, often the wettest month of the year.