Planting of the 2013 winter wheat crop was under way, and ideas were seedings in many areas may increase from last year, assuming weather patterns continue to show some improvement week by week. Kansas producers were expected to increase wheat area slightly from 2012, although veteran crop observers noted unevenness in the expected expansion. Much of the increase in wheat area from the current year may take place in the central and southeastern portions of the state with wheat planted on some corn and soybean fields that fell victim to the drought. No significant increase was expected for wheat area in the west, where most fields remained dry. At the same time, protections afforded by crop insurance were encouraging many growers to “dust in” their crop and hope for the best. Several growers invested in seed treatments to protect seeds of a crop that may not emerge until later than normal in the driest areas. Kansas wheat area planted for harvest in 2012 was 9,600,000 acres, up 9% from 8,800,000 acres in 2011. The increase for 2013 was not expected to be anywhere near that dramatic. Wheat area in Nebraska may increase about 2% from 2012, said one western Nebraska grain merchant.

Flour millers and grain merchants in the key soft red winter wheat region of the Central states indicated heavy wheat seed sales during the summer suggested winter wheat area there will expand as well. The change in planted area in the Central states was expected to be more stark than in the hard winter wheat states. This was because wheat area planted for harvest in 2012 in the Central states dropped 19% from the previous year because a late fall crop harvest and excessively wet conditions last fall prevented many acres from being planted. Wheat area planted in the Central states for harvest in 2012 was 2,900,000 acres compared with 3,600,000 acres in 2011.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will issue its Winter Wheat Seedings report for the 2013 crop in January.