WASHINGTON — In the first survey-based projection of the 2022 crop, the US Department of Agriculture in its May 12 Crop Production report forecast winter wheat production in 2022 at 1,173,547,000 bus, down 103,818,000, or 8%, from 1,277,365,000 bus in 2021. 

The USDA winter wheat forecast was based on harvested area projected at 24,499,000 acres, down 965,000 acres, or 4%, from 25,464,000 acres in 2021, and an average yield forecast of 47.9 bus an acre, down from 50.2 bus an acre in 2021.  

Projected US winter wheat abandonment in 2022 of 28%, if realized, would be the highest since 2002, the USDA said, and factors in dry conditions in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

The USDA forecast hard red winter wheat production in 2022 at 590,037,000 bus, down 21% from 749,489,000 bus in 2021.

Soft red winter wheat production was forecast at 353,303,000 bus, down 2% from 360,689,000 bus in 2021. The USDA forecast for soft red winter wheat was 3,797,000 bus higher than the projection issued by a panel of soft wheat millers addressing the spring conference of the North American Millers’ Association on April 12. 

Hard white winter wheat production was forecast at 15,690,000 bus, down 23% from 20,283,000 bus in 2021, and soft white winter production was forecast at 214,317,000 bus, up 46% from 146,904,000 bus in 2021.

Winter wheat on May 9 in the 18 major production states was rated 29% in good to excellent condition by the USDA, 20 percentage points lower than the same week in 2021. Across the United States, 33% of the winter wheat crop was headed by May 9, seven percentage points below the 2017-21 average pace of 40%. Good-to-excellent conditions on May 9 were 30% in Kansas, 20% in Oklahoma and 7% in Texas.

 “Early spring drought conditions have caused condition ratings to decline compared with last year in these states,” the USDA said.

Farmer surveys for the USDA forecasts were conducted between April 29 and May 9 to gather information on expected yield as of May 1. The survey sampled about 9,300 producers in all major production areas primarily by phone, with some mail and online components.

“These producers were selected from an earlier acreage survey and were asked about the probable winter wheat acres for harvest and yield on their operation,” the USDA said. “These growers will continue to be surveyed throughout the growing season to provide indications of average yields.”