U.S. winter wheat planted area is continuing to decline, but American producers still seeded more acres this past fall than expected.
According to a USDA winter wheat seedings report released Friday, American producers put a total of 30.8 million acres of winter wheat in the ground for harvest this summer. That’s down 1% from a year earlier, 5% below what was seeded in 2018 and potentially the second lowest on record. However, traders and analysts were actually looking for a slightly steeper decline for 2020, with the average pre-report trade guess at 30.7 million acres.
The biggest year-over-year reduction is expected in Hard Red Winter, with planted area estimated at 21.8 million acres, down 3% from last year. Seeded area in the No. 1 production area of Kansas is estimated steady from a year ago at 6.9 million acres, with Oklahoma also holding unchanged at 4.2 million. On the other hand, the largest decreases are estimated in Colorado (-12% to 1.9 million acres) and Montana (-20% to 1.6 million). Record low acreage was seeded in Nebraska, where producers planted just 900,000 acres, down 16%.
On the other hand, Soft Red Winter wheat seeded area for 2020 is pegged at 5.64 million acres, up 8% from last year. Compared with last year, acreage increases are expected in most of the SRW growing states, including Ohio where producers planted an estimated 560,000 acres, up 12%. However, poor fall planting weather took a toll in Michigan, where planted area fell 7% to 500,000 acres – the lowest in at least three years. Wisconsin SRW area was also hit hard by bad weather, declining almost 30% from a year earlier to 140,000 acres.
Finally, White Winter wheat seeded area for this year is pegged at 3.37 million acres, down 4% from 2019.
So-called desert durum acres in Arizona and California for 2020 harvest were reported at a combined 70,000 acres, up 9% from 2019 but 41% below 2018.