WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture at its annual Agricultural Outlook Forum Feb. 22-23 projected higher U.S. wheat production in 2018 but lower corn and soybean outturn compared with 2017, which saw the smallest wheat crop since 2002, the second largest corn crop and a record-large soybean crop.
Production of all wheat in 2018 was forecast at 1,839 million bus, up 6% from 1,741 million bus in 2017 but still about 11% below the prior five-year average outturn. Area planted to wheat for harvest in 2018 was forecast at 46.5 million acres, up 500,000 acres from 2017, harvested area at 38.8 million acres, up 1.2 million acres, and average yield at 47.4 bus per acre, up 1.1 bus from 2017 but down 5.3 bus from a record yield of 52.7 bus in 2016.
Expected increased area planted to spring wheat is expected to offset a slight decline in winter wheat seeded area, the U.S.D.A. said.
“At 32.6 million acres, 2018 winter wheat seedings are projected to be the lowest in 109 years and incorporate expectations of a 2% year-to-year decline in hard red winter wheat plantings,” the U.S.D.A. said in comments released with its projections at the Outlook Forum.
“The all-wheat harvested-to-planted ratio is forecast at 83.4%,” the U.S.D.A. said. “While up from the 2017-18 ratio, the 2018-19 ratio is slightly below the long-term average and reflective of the potential for increased abandonment in the drought-affected winter wheat belt in the Southern Plains.”
Wheat carryover on June 1, 2019, was forecast at 931 million bus, down 8% from 1,009 million bus forecast as the 2018 carryover and down 21% from 2017. The average price of wheat paid to farmers in 2018-19 was forecast at $4.70 a bu, up 10c from 2017-18 and up 81c from 2016-17.
The U.S.D.A. projected 2018 corn production at 14,390 million bus, down 1.5% from 2017, down 5% from a record 15,148 million bus in 2016 but still the third highest on record if realized. Planted area was forecast at 90 million acres, down 200,000 acres from 2017, harvested area at 82.7 million acres, unchanged, and average yield at 174 bus per acre, down 2.6 bus from a record 176.6 bus in 2017.
Corn used for ethanol in 2018-19 was forecast at a record 5,650 million bus, up 2.3% from 2017-18 and equal to 39% of the 2018 crop. Corn carryover on Sept. 1, 2019, was projected at 2,272 million bus, down 3.4% from 2018. The average price of corn paid to farmers in 2018-19 was forecast at $3.40 a bu, up 10c from the current year.
The U.S.D.A. projected 2018 soybean production at 4,320 million bus, down 1.6% from record outturn of 4,392 million bus in 2017. Planted area was forecast at 90 million acres in 2018, down 100,000 acres from 2017, harvested area at 89.1 million acres, down 400,000 acres, and average yield at 48.5 bus per acre, down 0.6 bu from 2017 and down 3.5 bus from a record 52 bus in 2016.
Total soybean supply in 2018-19 was forecast at a record 4,875 million bus due to large carry-in stocks. Soybean carryover on Sept. 1, 2019, was forecast at 460 million bus, down 13% from 2018. The average price of soybeans paid to farmers in 2018-19 was forecast at $9.25 a bu, down 5c from the prior year forecast.