The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Feb. 14 issued wheat supply-and-demand projections for 2011-12 through 2020-21 that reflected a mature market with production forecast to decline steadily from a projected 2,125 million bus in 2011 to 1,995 million bus in 2016 and then to rise slowly but only to 2,030 million bus in 2020.

The U.S.D.A. forecast plantings of wheat in 2011 at 57 million acres, up 3.4 million acres, or 6%, from 53.6 million acres in 2010 and compared with 59.2 million acres in 2009 and the recent high 63.2 million acres in 2008. This year’s projected planted area was the largest in the forecast period. Planted area was expected to decline rapidly from the current year to 51.5 million acres in 2016, where it will hold for the next two years before declining to 51 million acres in both 2019 and 2020. Harvested area followed a similar trend forecast at 48.5 million acres for the current year, declining to 43.8 million acres in 2016 and the following two years before turning yet lower to 43.4 million acres in 2019 and 2020.

Average yield in 2011 was forecast at 43.8 bus per acre, down from a record 46.4 bus per acre in 2010, and then projected to rise slowly and steadily to 46.8 bus per acre in 2020.

U.S. wheat imports were forecast at 110 million bus in 2011-12 and were projected to increase incrementally to 130 million bus in 2020-21.

Wheat supply in 2011-12 was forecast at 3,083 million bus. Supply was not expected to exceed 3 billion bus again during the forecast period. After declining to a projected 2,913 million bus in 2012-13, supply was expected to range between 2,821 million bus (2020-21) and 2,881 million bus (2014-15) for the rest of the 10-year period.

Food use of wheat was forecast to see “moderate” growth mostly in line with the rising population. Food use of wheat was forecast at 950 million bus in 2011-12 and projected to rise steadily to 1,031 million bus by 2020-21.

Seed use of wheat was projected at 75 million bus in 2011-12 and as plantings decline drop to 69 million bus by the end of the baseline period. Feed and residual use of wheat was projected at 190 million bus in 2011-12 but then forecast to decline to 175 million bus in 2012-13, a level that will hold for the remainder of the baseline period.

The U.S.D.A. projected wheat exports in 2011-12 at 1,150 million bus, down from a forecast 1,300 million for the current year. Exports were forecast to fall to 1,000 million bus in 2012-13 and to 900 million bus in 2013-14 and to hold at 900 million bus a year for the remainder of the baseline period.

Total wheat disappearance in 2012-13 was projected at 2,365 million bus, which would be the largest wheat usage in the baseline period. Annual wheat use during the next 10 years was forecast to average 2,173 million bus.

The U.S.D.A. forecast the farm price of wheat in 2011-12 at $6.50 a bu, up $1 from the forecast for the current year. The average farm price was forecast to drop to $5.90 in 2012-13 and then hold within a range of $5.45@5.60 a bu for the rest of the forecast period.