Soft wheat millers meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on March 23 forecast soft red winter wheat production in 2010 at 288,636,000 bus, down 114,927,000 bus, or 28%, from the 2009 outturn of 403,563,000 bus. If the forecast is realized, the 2010 soft red winter wheat crop would be the smallest harvested since 188,920,000 bus were combined in 1978.

Soft red winter wheat production was forecast to drop from 2009 in all principal regions with the widest decline projected for the Midwestern states of Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri. Production in those states was forecast to aggregate 60,732,000 bus, down 39% from the 99,135,000 bus harvested last year. The next widest decline from 2009 was forecast for the southern states, including the Delta states and the small crops in Texas and Oklahoma. The southern states soft red winter wheat harvest was forecast at 50,400,000 bus, down 36% from 78,511,000 bus a year ago. Production was forecast to decline the least in the mid-Atlantic states. Production there was projected at 29,002,000 bus, down 8% from 31,554,000 bus in 2009. Production in the southeastern states of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina was forecast at 41,810,000 bus, down 14% from 48,630,000 bus in 2009, and production in the key Central states was projected at 106,692,000 bus, down 27% from 145,307,000 bus in 2009.

The small soft red winter wheat crop forecast was expected given planted area was estimated at only 5.92 million acres, down 29% from 2009, and with winter wheat seedings overall the lowest since 1913.