WASHINGTON — The National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on May 10 forecast 2013 winter wheat production in the United States at 1,485,757,000 bus, down 159,445,000 bus, or 10%, from 1,645,202,000 bus in 2012. The forecast was the first survey-based outlook for the 2013 winter wheat crop. If the forecast were to hold, the 2013 winter wheat crop would be the smallest since 1,484,861,000 bus in 2011 and would compare with the recent five-year average winter wheat outturn of 1,603 million bus.

In commentary accompanying the production forecast, the U.S.D.A. said, “As of May 1, the U.S. yield is forecast at 45.4 bus per acre, down 1.8 bus from last year. Expected grain area is forecast at 32.7 million acres, down 6% from last year. Hard red winter wheat harvested acreage is down about 14% from the previous year. Soft red winter harvested acreage is expected to be up 21% from last year.”

The U.S.D.A. forecast hard red winter wheat production in 2013 at 768,027,000 bus, down 23% from 1,003,856,000 bus in 2012. The recent five-year average hard red winter wheat outturn was 951.4 million bus.

“In the southern Great Plains, winter temperatures were moderate, but drought-like conditions during emergence and most of the growing season negatively impacted winter wheat conditions,” the U.S.D.A. said. “As a result, dryland yields are expected to suffer from the lack of moisture that occurred during plant development and grain set. Several hard freezes occurred in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas during March and April, affecting earlier maturing varieties. Weather conditions remained cooler and wetter than normal throughout April.”

The U.S.D.A. forecast the Kansas wheat crop at 299,700,000 bus, down 22% from 382,200,000 bus in 2012. The average Kansas yield was forecast at 37 bus per acre compared with 42 bus per acre in 2012. The Wheat Quality Council’s annual Kansas crop tour the previous week forecast the average yield in Kansas at 41.1 bus per acre. Forty-nine participants in the Wheat Quality Council’s annual Kansas wheat tour provided individual forecasts for the state’s hard red winter wheat production this year. The average of the forecasts was 313.1 million bus. The recent five-year average Kansas wheat outturn was 348.9 million bus.

Soft red winter wheat production was forecast at 500,901,000 bus, up 19% from 419,801,000 bus in 2012 and compared with 426.5 million bus as the recent five-year average.

“Cooler-than-normal spring temperatures coupled with higher-than-normal precipitation in the Corn Belt states of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio hampered crop development,” the U.S.D.A. said. “However, as of April 28, the winter wheat crop in the soft red winter wheat growing states was in mostly good condition.”
Soft wheat millers on March 26, at the 2013 Divisions Meeting of the North American Millers’ Association held in Palm Coast, Fla., forecast the 2013 soft red winter wheat crop at 492,311,000 bus.

The U.S.D.A forecast soft white winter wheat production at 205,441,000 bus, down 1% from 208,295,000 bus in 2012. Hard white winter wheat production was forecast at 11,388,000 bus, down 14% from 13,250,000 bus last year.