Farmers plant the smallest area to wheat since 1971, July 13, 2010
by Editorial Staff

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its Acreage report issued on June 30 estimated the area planted to all wheat in the United States for harvest in 2010 at 54,305,000 acres, up 478,000 acres, or 1%, from the March survey of producers’ planting intentions but down 4,828,000 acres, or 8%, from 59,133,000 acres in 2009. Wheat plantings this year were the smallest since 1971, two years before the huge Soviet wheat purchases of 1973 that generated a breathtaking expansion in wheat area in the United States from 54 million acres in 1971 to more than 80 million bus in 1976.

The all-wheat harvested area in 2010 was projected at 48,263,000 acres, down 1,605,000 acres, or 3%, from 49,868,000 acres in 2009. The harvested area forecast for the current year inferred an abandonment rate of 11% compared with nearly 16% in 2009. The 2010 all-wheat harvested area would be the smallest since 46,800,000 acres in 2006, when 18% of 57,334,000 acres planted were abandoned and not harvested.

The area seeded to spring wheat other than durum in 2010 was estimated at 13,907,000 acres, up only 1,000 acres from the March intentions but up 639,000 acres, or 5%, from 13,268,000 acres in 2009. The recent five-year average other-spring wheat planted area was 13,932,000 acres.

The U.S.D.A. said in commentary accompanying the other-spring wheat plantings data, “Planted acreage is above last year’s level in all states except Colorado, South Dakota and Washington. The largest acreage increases are in Montana and North Dakota, up 400,000 and 250,000 acres, respectively.”

Of the other-spring wheat area, hard red spring wheat was estimated to account for 13.3 million acres compared with about 12.6 million acres in 2009 and on par with the recent five-year average also at 13.3 million acres.

The harvested area of other-spring wheat was projected at 13,590,000 acres, up 635,000 acres, or 5%, from 12,955,000 acres in 2009. It would be the largest harvested area of other-spring wheat since 13,878,000 acres in 2006.

The area seeded to durum was estimated at 2,675,000 acres, up 452,000 acres, or 20%, from March and up 121,000 acres, or 5%, from 2,554,000 acres in 2009. The U.S.D.A. noted Montana and North Dakota plantings were up 70,000 and 150,000 acres, respectively, from 2009. The recent five-year average durum area was 2,412,000 bus.

The harvested area of durum in 2010 was projected at 2,588,000 acres, up 160,000 acres, or 7%, from 2,428,000 acres in 2009.

The winter wheat planted area was estimated at 37,723,000 acres, up 25,000 acres from the most recent previous estimate but down 5,588,000 acres, or 13%, from 43,311,000 acres last year. It was the smallest winter wheat planted area since 37,623,000 acres in 1970. Record small plantings were estimated for Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio.

Of the winter wheat planted area, hard red winter wheat accounted for an estimated 28.5 million acres, soft red winter wheat accounted for an estimated 5.8 million acres, and white winter wheat accounted for an estimated 3.4 million acres, the U.S.D.A. said.

The harvested winter wheat area was projected at 32,085,000 acres, up 299,000 acres, or 1%, from 31,786,000 acres forecast in the June Crop Production report but down 2,400,000 acres, or 7%, from 34,485,000 acres in 2009. It would be the smallest harvested area of winter wheat since 31,107,000 acres in 2006.

The U.S.D.A. estimated the area planted to corn in 2010 at 87,872,000 acres, down 926,000 acres, or 1%, from March intentions but up 1,390,000 acres, or 2%, from 86,482,000 acres in 2009. The corn planted area was the second largest since 1946 after the 2007 planted area, the U.S.D.A. said. The corn harvested area was projected at 81,005,000 acres, up 1,415,000 acres, or 2%, from 79,590,000 acres a year ago.

The U.S.D.A. estimated the soybean planted area at a record 78,868,000 acres, up 770,000 acres, or 1%, from the March intentions and up 1,417,000 acres, or 2%, from 77,451,000 acres last year, the U.S.D.A. said. The harvested area was forecast at a record 77,986,000 acres, up 1,614,000 acres, or 2%, from 76,372,000 acres in 2009.

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