NAPLES, FLA. — Soft wheat millers meeting at Naples on March 13 forecast the production of soft red winter wheat in the United States in 2012 at 423,107,000 bus, down 34,428,000 bus, or 8%, from 457,535,000 bus in 2011. In comparison, the recent five-year average soft red winter wheat crop was 413 million bus. Within that five-year span production was as low as 237,804,000 bus in 2010 and as high as 613,578,000 bus in 2008.

Millers pointed to wide variations in crop plantings and condition. While Illinois plantings, at 660,000 acres, were down 140,000 acres from 2011, the condition of the crop planted was outstanding for the date, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture pegged at 81% good to excellent at the beginning of March. In contrast, Ohio plantings, at 580,000 acres, were down 34% from 880,000 acres in 2011, and millers indicated abandonment on the area planted may be higher than normal.

The millers forecast the soft white winter wheat crop at 220,964,000 bus, down 22,721,000 bus, or 9%, from 243,685,000 bus in 2011.