Flooding in Australia helped pushed wheat prices higher Monday, with wheat for March delivery gaining 11.25 cents to settle at $8.055 US a bushel.

Prices also surged as dry, cold weather in the U.S. and China sparked concerns about global supplies.


Traders at the Chicago Board of Trade wheat options pit, shown in October. Prices surged Monday, in part because of flooding in Australia. ((M. Spencer Green/Associated Press))

Canada is the world's second largest exporter of wheat with annual exports averaging almost 14 million tonnes, although heavy rains hurt the Canadian planting season.

Heavy rains have flooded a vast area in northeastern Queensland state of Australia, one of the world's top exporters of the grain.

The government there is extending emergency relief to residents, including low-interest loans to farmers.

Traders and analysts say the flooding may have reduced at least a portion of the wheat crop to a quality unsuitable for human consumption but still usable as livestock feed.

A U.S. Agriculture Department report due out next week could provide more detail about the state of the U.S. winter wheat crop.

The most recent report issued in November showed at least half the U.S. winter wheat crop affected by dry weather.

The weather worries come on the heels of last year's difficulties with the global wheat supply.

A devastating drought damaged the crop in Russia and the Black Sea region, prompting Russia to impose an export ban that remains in effect.

With files from The Associated Press