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Published May 31, 2010, 01:31 PM

Winter wheat acres drop in ND

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's winter wheat acreage tumbled this year, but the crop still likely has a future in the state known more for spring wheat.

Joel Ransom, cereal grains agronomist with the North Dakota State University Extension Service, says there are advantages to the crop, and it's catching on. One of the advantages is that winter wheat enables farmers to spread out their work, doing less in the spring and more in the fall.

The Agriculture Department says North Dakota farmers have 340,000 acres of winter wheat in the ground. That's down from 580,000 acres a year ago and the smallest since 200,000 acres in 2006.

But Ransom says 340,000 acres of winter wheat still exceeds what's typical in the state. In the 1990s, North Dakota's annual winter wheat acreage ranged from 40,000 to 250,000.