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Published July 11, 2012, 07:02 PM

USDA releases updated crop production report

The National Agricultural Statistics Service on July 11 issued a Crop Production Report that shows U.S. “other spring wheat” production to be up 4 percent from last year, and durum production up 62 percent from 2011 — expected increases that may be tempered by recent hot, dry weather.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

The National Agricultural Statistics Service on July 11 issued a Crop Production Report that shows U.S. “other spring wheat” production to be up 4 percent from last year, and durum production up 62 percent from 2011 — expected increases that may be tempered by recent hot, dry weather.

U.S. spring wheat production is expected to hit 472 million bushels, up 4 percent from 2011, based on a projected yield of 40.4 bushels per acre, up 2.7 bushels from the 2011 estimate. North Dakota production in this category could be a record high, based on farmers planting on prevent-planted acres in 2011, according to analysts.

About 436 million bushels of the U.S. wheat crop is hard red spring wheat, up 10 percent from last year. Spring wheat acreage will be 11.7 million acres, down 3 percent from last year and unchanged from the June 29 projection. North Dakota spring wheat acreage declines slightly, but yield increases to 40 bushels per acre for a nearly 28 percent production jump. Montana increases acres but reduces yield, for a 15 percent production increase.

Durum production is forecast at 82 million bushels, with a yield forecast at 38.6 bushels per acre, up slightly from last year. The USDA forecasts 2.12 million acres, up 62 percent from last year, but unchanged from the June 29 acreage report. North Dakota durum acreage for harvest increases by 88 percent to nearly 1.35 million, and yield to 31 bushels per acre, up 5.5 bushels. Montana also increases acreage by 35 percent, but yield declines by 2 bushels.

“Durum and spring wheat came in right about where we were expecting,” says Erica Olson, marketing specialist with the North Dakota Wheat Commission. She says the trade was hoping for an even bigger crop, but that hot and dry weather may have reduced its potential.

Nationally, winter wheat production is forecast at 1.67 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the June 1 forecast, but up 12 percent from 2011. The report is based on July 1 conditions. The U.S. winter wheat yield at that date was forecast at 47.7 bushels per acre, up .4 bushels from last month’s estimate. That’s up 1.5 bushels from last year’s 46.2 bushel yield. U.S. farmers are expected to harvest winter wheat on 35 million acres, which was up 8 percent from the previous year.

North Dakota is seeing a near doubling of winter wheat acres, and is poised for a crop in that category, Olson says. That’s based partly on the prevent-plant acres in 2011 and the opportunity to plant the winter crop. “There has been a growing interest in winter wheat but it tends to bounce up and down depending on growing conditions.”

Other highlights in the report:

•Oat production is expected to increase 21 percent to 65.3 million bushels nationwide, based on increases in acreage and yield. Minnesota and North Dakota increased acreage by 18 percent and 29 percent, respectively. Yields are expected to be up about 11 percent this year in the Dakotas and Minnesota.

•Barley production is up about 36 percent in the nation, at 216.7 million bushels. This is based on a 45 percent increase in acres for harvest and a 5 percent, or 3.3 bushel-per-acre, reduced average yield. North Dakota will increase area harvested to 1.06 million acres, up from the weather-reduced 350,000 acres last year, and will increase yield to 61 bushels, up from 47 bushels per acre last year. Minnesota will increase acreage to 100,000, from 60,000 acres the previous year, and will increase yields to 59 bushels per acre, up from 51 bushels last year. Montana will increase acres by 29 percent, with slightly lower yield.

•Fall potato production acreage for harvest in North Dakota is up 9 percent, or up by 4,000 acres. Minnesota acreage is up by 4 percent, or 2,000 acres. No yield or production projects were made in this report.

•Lentil harvested acres are expected to be up 12 percent, with a 225 percent increase in North Dakota, to 174,000 acres. The lentil region was hard-hit by prevent-plant conditions in 2011. Montana’s harvested acreage will decline 24 to 190,000 acres, the report says.

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