Winter wheat planting progress in the US is now behind last year’s pace, and at around the slowest pace seen since 2009 according to Jack Watts, the UK’s Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA), Lead Analyst.

He says the latest delays have been attributed to colder weather conditions, and snowfall across wheat growing regions in the US.

Furthermore, he says concerns are arising over the establishment of winter wheat in areas that have already drilled crops.

Watts says further snowfall and colder weather could continue to cause delays to planting, which could ultimately result in a smaller winter wheat area.

Reuters’ crop forecasting subsidiary, Lanworth, have recently forecast a decrease of 0.65m hectares from 2014 plantings, which has been attributed to planting delays as well as lower profitability in comparison to other crops.

The USDA estimates that 17.2m hectares were planted to winter wheat for harvest 2014.

Watts says the harvesting of both maize and soyabean crops is also yet to be completed in the US.

Although progress remains at around average levels, wet conditions forecast for the Central and the Eastern Midwest could slow harvest progress over the next six-10 days.

Meanwhile the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has upgraded the possibility of an El Niño occurring from 50% (WATCH) to 70% (ALERT) via their El Nino / La Nina tracker.

The HGCA says this possibility means there is three-times the average likelihood of the weather event occurring during 2014/15. The tracker status has been raised as a result of above average temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean over the last two weeks. It says during the season to date, many forecasters have been suggesting that an El Nino could develop this year; however, this has not materialised yet.

The HGCA says regardless of whether a full El Nino develops, warmer tropical ocean conditions could bring drier and warmer weather in Eastern Australia and South Australia.