U.S.D.A. estimates wheat area to be smallest since 1919

by Jay Sjerven
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Wheat acreage
The area planted to wheat in the United States for harvest this year was estimated at 45,657,000 acres.
 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture on June 30 in its annual Acreage report estimated the area planted to wheat in the United States for harvest this year at 45,657,000 acres. The estimate fell 402,000 bus below what producers said they intended to plant as indicated in the Prospective Plantings report issued in March. The 2017 planted area was 4,497,000 acres, or 9%, smaller than the 2016 planted area of 50,154,000 acres and was the smallest wheat area since 1919.

The U.S.D.A. forecast the all-wheat harvested area in 2017 at 38,115,000 acres, down 5,775,000 acres, or 13%, from 43,890,000 acres in 2016. This suggested an abandonment rate of 16.5% this year compared with 12.5% in 2016.    

The U.S.D.A. estimated the area planted to spring wheat other than durum at 10,899,000 acres compared with the March forecast based of producers’ intentions at 11,308,000 acres. The area planted to other-spring wheat was 706,000 acres, or 6%, smaller than the 2016 planted area at 11,605,000 acres. It was the smallest area planted to other-spring wheat since 1972. Hard red spring wheat planted area comprised 10.3 million acres of the 2017 other-spring wheat total.

In commentary accompanying the acreage data, the U.S.D.A. said, “Planted area in North Dakota, the largest spring wheat-producing state, is estimated at 5.25 million acres, down 13% from last year.”

The U.S.D.A. projected the other-spring wheat harvested area in 2017 at 10,497,000 acres, down 806,000 acres, or 7%, from 11,303,000 acres in 2016.

The U.S.D.A. estimated the area planted to durum this year at 1,919,000 acres compared with the March forecast at 2,004,000 acres and down 493,000 acres, or 20%, from 2,412,000 acres in 2016. The U.S.D.A. forecast harvested area of durum in 2017 at 1,858,000 acres, down 507,000 acres, or 21%, from 2,365,000 last year.

The U.S.D.A. raised its estimate of the area planted to winter wheat. The department said 32,839,000 acres were planted to winter wheat for harvest this year, up 92,000 acres from the previous estimate but down 3,298,000 acres, or 9%, from 36,137,000 acres in 2016. The 2017 winter wheat area was the second smallest on record since records began in 1909.

Of the winter wheat area, about 23.8 million acres were hard red winter wheat, 5.61 million acres were soft red winter wheat and 3.41 million acres were white winter wheat.

The U.S.D.A. projected the harvested winter wheat area at 25,760,000 acres, down 4,462,000 acres, or 15%, from 30,222,000 acres in 2016. If realized, harvested area would be the smallest on record. Winter wheat area abandonment was projected at 22% in 2017 compared with 16% in 2016. South Dakota abandonment was forecast at about 32% because of drought conditions compared with 7% in 2016.

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