FOOD: The Russians Return

Prodded by drought that has dashed hopes for a bumper Soviet wheat crop, Russian buyers last week returned, as expected, to the U.S. market. They signed contracts to buy 117 million bu., or 3.2 million metric tons, of winter wheat from Cook Industries of Memphis and Cargill Inc. of Minneapolis; at present prices, the deal amounts to about $470 million. That is hardly enough to push American prices up very much, but a big question remains: How much more does the U.S.S.R. plan to buy?

The size of the first sale is hardly reminiscent of 1972, when skillful Soviet buyers,...

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