Winter wheat crop forecast down 4% from 2010

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — U.S. 2011 winter wheat production was forecast at 1,424,357,000 bus, down 60,879,000 bus, or 4%, from 1,485,236,000 bus in 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its May Crop Production report this morning.

The U.S.D.A. production number was above analysts’ pre-report trade expectations, which averaged near 1,389 million bus. It was the first U.S.D.A. survey-based crop production forecast of winter wheat for the 2011 season.

The U.S.D.A. forecast winter wheat yield at 44.5 bus per acre based on conditions as of May 1, down 2.3 bus from 46.8 bus in 2010. Harvested area was forecast at 32,039,000 acres, up 1% from 31,749,000 acres a year ago.

Production of hard red winter wheat was forecast at 761,954,000 bus, down 25% from 1,018,337,000 bus in 2010, soft red winter at 427,123,000 bus, up 80% from 237,804,000 bus, and white winter at 235,280,000 bus, up 3% from 229,095,000 bus in 2010, including soft white winter at 223,605,000 bus, up 4% from 215,599,000 bus, and hard white winter at 11,675,000 bus, down 13% from 13,496,000 bus in 2010.

The U.S.D.A. numbers compared with pre-report trade expectations averaging near 767 million bus for hard red winter wheat, 392 million bus for soft red winter and 231 million bus for white winter.

“In the southern Great Plains, dry weather during the winter and spring has led to poor growing conditions,” the U.S.D.A. said. “Crop conditions declined from last year in all of the major hard red winter producing states except Montana. Yields are forecasted lower than last year in all major hard red winter producing states.”

Winter wheat production in Kansas was forecast at 261,800,000 bus, down 27% from 360,000,000 bus in 2010, Oklahoma at 74,800,000 bus, down 38% from 120,900,000 bus, Colorado at 64,500,000 bus, down 39% from 105,750,000 bus, and Texas at 46,800,000 bus, down 63% from 127,500,000 bus.

“Favorable planting conditions and adequate moisture this spring in many of the soft red winter producing states has resulted in crop development slightly ahead of the five-year average,” the U.S.D.A. said. “Yields are forecasted to be higher than 2010 in most soft red winter states.”

Total winter durum production in Arizona and California was estimated at 23,195,000 bus, up 12% from 20,635,000 bus in 2010, the U.S.D.A. said.

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