WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture on May 10 forecast winter wheat production in 2018 at 1,191,542,000 bus, down 77,895,000 bus, or 6%, from 1,269,437,000 bus in 2017. The winter wheat production forecast, the first survey-based projection of the season, compared with the recent five-year average winter wheat outturn at 1,447 million bus. If the projection were to be realized, the 2018 winter wheat crop would be the smallest since 1,137,001,000 bus in 2002. The projection for 2018 also compared with pre-report trade forecasts that averaged about 1,180 million bus.
The U.S.D.A. forecast was based on a harvested area projected at 24,769,000 acres, down 2% from 25,291,000 acres in 2017, and an average yield forecast at 48.1 bus per acre, down from 50.2 bus per acre in 2017. The harvested area forecast for 2018 constituted a record low for the United States.
The U.S.D.A. forecast hard red winter wheat production in 2018 at 647,028,000 bus, down 14% from 750,332,000 bus in 2017. It would be the smallest hard red winter wheat crop since 620 million bus in 2002.
The Kansas winter wheat crop was forecast at 270,100,000 bus, based on a harvested area forecast at 7,300,000 acres, compared with 6,950,000 acres in 2017, and an average yield forecast at 37 bus per acre, compared with 48 bus per acre in 2017.
The Wheat Quality Council Kansas hard red winter wheat tour concluded May 3 forecast the average Kansas yield at 37 bus per acre, on par with the U.S.D.A. projection. The tour forecast the Kansas crop at 243,300,000 bus, nearly 27 million bus below the initial U.S.D.A. projection.
The U.S.D.A. forecast the 2018 soft red winter wheat crop at 315,194,000 bus, up 8% from 292,156,000 bus in 2017.
In late March, a panel of flour millers addressing the annual spring conference of the North American Millers’ Association forecast the 2018 soft red winter wheat crop at 310,475,000 bus, within 5 million bus of the initial U.S.D.A. projection.
The U.S.D.A. forecast hard white winter wheat production in 2018 at 21,212,000 bus, down 11% from 23,726,000 bus in 2017. The department forecast the 2018 soft white winter wheat crop at 208,108,000 bus, up 2% from 203,223,000 bus in 2017.
The U.S.D.A. forecast the 2018 desert durum crop (Arizona and California combined) at 12,198,000 bus, up 6% from 11,473,000 bus in 2017.