Winter wheat crop forecast up 13% from 2011

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — U.S. 2012 winter wheat production was forecast at 1,693,710,000 bus, up 200,033,000 bus, or 13%, from 1,493,677,000 bus in 2011, 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 1,635 million bus. It was the first U.S.D.A. survey-based crop production forecast of winter wheat for the 2012 season.

The U.S.D.A. forecast winter wheat yield at 47.6 bus per acre based on conditions as of May 1, up 1.4 bus from 46.2 bus an acre in 2011. Harvested area was forecast at 35,580,000 acres, up 10% from 32,314,000 acres a year ago.

Production of hard red winter wheat was forecast at 1,032,252,000 bus, up 32% from 780,089,000 bus in 2011, soft red winter at 428,263,000 bus, down 6% from 457,535,000 bus, and white winter at 233,195,000 bus, down 9% from 256,053,000 bus in 2011, including soft white winter at 219,135,000 bus, down 10% from 243,685,000 bus, and hard white winter at 14,060,000 bus, up 14% from 12,368,000 bus in 2011.

The U.S.D.A. numbers compared with pre-report trade expectations averaging near 990 million bus for hard red winter wheat, 413 million bus for soft red winter and 231 million bus for white winter.

“An unusually mild winter in many of the major winter wheat-producing regions made for early dormancy break and rapid crop development this spring… Above average temperatures and increased moisture in many southern locations improved winter wheat conditions during the month, and helped to maintain a fast development pace,” the U.S.D.A. said. “Current crop conditions have improved from last year in all major hard red winter producing states except Montana and South Dakota. As of May 1, the per cent of crop rated good to excellent in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas was 27 points or more higher than last year, contributing to forecasted yield increases in those states.”

Total winter durum production in Arizona and California was estimated at 26,335,000 bus, up 28% from 20,514,000 bus in 2011, the U.S.D.A. said.

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