U.S.D.A. forecasts winter wheat crop at 1,472 million bus

by Jay Sjerven
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WASHINGTON — The National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on May 12 forecast winter wheat production in 2015 at 1,471,802,000 bus, up 94,276,000 bus, or 7%, from 1,377,526,000 bus in 2014. The forecast was the first official U.S.D.A. projection of the season and was above the average of pre-report trade forecasts, which was 1,457 million bus.

The U.S.D.A. forecast winter wheat harvested area at 33,838,000 acres, up 5% from 32,304,000 acres in 2014. The average winter wheat yield was forecast at 43.5 bus per acre compared with 42.6 bus per acre in 2014.

The U.S.D.A. forecast the hard red winter wheat outturn at 853,356,000 bus, up 115,419,000 bus, or 16%, from 737,937,000 bus in 2014. It would be the largest hard red winter wheat crop since 997,948,000 bus in 2012. The U.S.D.A. forecast harvested acreage of hard red winter wheat up 10% from 2014.

Winter wheat production in the hard red winter wheat states of the Southwest — Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska and Colorado — was forecast at 663,800,000 bus, up 141,950,000 bus, or 27%, from 521,850,000 bus in 2014.

The Kansas crop was forecast at 272,000,000 bus, up 25,600,000 bus, or 10%, from 246,400,000 bus in 2014. The forecast was based on a harvested area of 8,500,000 acres, which was 3% less than 8,800,000 acres in 2014, but average yield was forecast at 32 bus per acre compared with 28 bus per acre in 2014.

The U.S.D.A. forecasts for Kansas production and yield were below those provided by the Wheat Quality Council’s annual Kansas wheat tour that concluded May 7 in Kansas City. Crop scouts forecast an average Kansas yield at 35.9 bus per acre and an outturn at 288.5 million bus.

The greatest production gains compared with 2014 in both the Southwest and the nation were forecast for Texas and Oklahoma, where precipitation was vastly improved from a year ago, when drought ruled, abandonment was heavy, and yields were poor. The Texas crop was forecast at 131,250,000 bus, up 94% from 67,500,000 bus in 2014, and the Oklahoma crop was forecast at 118,900,000 bus, up 150% from 47,600,000 bus in 2014.

The U.S.D.A. forecast soft red winter wheat production in 2015 at 415,609,000 bus, down 39,688,000 bus, or 9%, from 455,297,000 bus in 2014. While down from 2014, the forecast was above the March forecast by soft wheat millers at 381 million bus.

Winter wheat production in the Central states — Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan — was forecast at 179,820,000 bus, down 9,670,000 bus, or 5%, from 189,490,000 bus a year ago.

The U.S.D.A. forecast the 2015 soft white winter wheat crop at 191,342,000 bus, up 18,342,000 bus, or 11%, from 172,802,000 bus in 2014.

Winter wheat production in the Pacific Northwest — Idaho, Washington and Oregon — where most soft white winter wheat is grown (but also hard red winter wheat) was forecast at 204,665,000 bus, up 20,285,000 bus, or 11%, from 184,380,000 bus in 2014.

The U.S.D.A. forecast hard white winter wheat production in 2015 at 11,495,000 bus, up 5,000 bus from the 2014 outturn at 11,490,000 bus.

In general comments accompanying the winter wheat forecasts, the U.S.D.A. noted there was less winterkill across the Great Lakes this year than last because of adequate snow cover, but “winterkill losses were reported across Colorado, North Dakota and South Dakota.” The U.S.D.A. also noted Kansas and Washington indicated some wheat stress due to drought.

The U.S.D.A. forecast record-high yields for Illinois, Michigan and Virginia.

The U.S.D.A. forecast the desert durum crop of Arizona and California at 16,906,000 bus (11,656,000 bus in Arizona and 5,250,000 acres in California), which was up 6,289,000 bus, or 59%, from 10,617,000 bus in 2014. The U.S.D.A. said the southern California durum harvest should begin in mid-May.
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