WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture in its Agricultural Projections to 2030 issued Feb. 16 forecast wheat plantings and harvested area to be flat to declining in the next several years. Production will be on a slow rise but only on expectations of steady increases in average yield.
The USDA forecast wheat planted area in 2021 at 46 million acres, up 1.7 million acres from 2020. Wheat planted area was projected to hold at 46 million acres through 2023 and then begin a steady decline to 44.5 million acres for 2028 through 2030. Harvested area will follow a similar trend forecast at 38.5 million acres this year and for 2022 and 2023 and then declining in subsequent years, bottoming at 37.3 million acres for the last three years of the timeline.
Wheat yields were forecast to rise steadily from 49.1 bus per acre in 2021 to 52.8 bus per acre in 2030.
The USDA forecast US wheat production in 2021 at 1,890 million bus compared with 1,826 million bus in 2020. Production was forecast to increase over the period of the timeline, with a couple of dips, and reach 1,969 million bus in 2030.
By way of comparison, the recent five-year average (2016-2020) wheat outturn was 1,939 million bus. In no year from 2021 through 2030 was wheat production forecast to approach the recent high of 2,309 million bus in 2016.
The USDA forecast corn plantings and harvested area to level off to a projected 90 million acres and 82.5 million acres, respectively, from 2021 through 2025, and then decline to 89 million acres planted and 81.5 million acres harvested in the last five years of the timeline.
Average yield was forecast to rise incrementally from a forecast 180.5 bus per acre in 2021 to 198.5 bus per acre in 2030.
Corn production in 2021 was projected at 14,890, up 168 million bus from 14,722 million bus in 2020. Production was forecast to rise in each subsequent year, with the exception of a slight downturn in 2026, through the timeline reaching a peak of 16,180 million bus in 2030. Corn production was projected to set a new record high in 2023 at 15,220 million bus. The current record outturn was 15,148 million bus in 2016.
The USDA forecast soybean plantings in 2021 at 89 million acres versus 83.1 million acres in 2020. The current year’s planted area was projected to be the smallest in the timeline with plantings in subsequent years projected at 90 million acres or 90.5 million acres, with the latter larger figure applying only to 2024 and 2025. Harvested area was forecast at 88.2 million acres in 2021 and was projected to be 89.2 million acres in subsequent years of the timeline with the exception of 2024 and 2025, when harvested area was projected at 89.7 million acres.
Average yield was forecast at 50.6 bus per acre in 2021 and was projected to rise steadily each subsequent year and reach 55.6 bus per acre in 2030.
The USDA projected soybean production in 2021 at a record 4,465 million bus compared with 4,135 million bus in 2020 (most recent estimate). The current record soybean outturn was 4,428 million bus in 2018. Soybean production was forecast to set new records in each subsequent year in the timeline and reach 4,955 million bus in 2020.