Wheat harvest

The Northwest’s winter wheat crop will be slightly smaller than last year’s, NASS predicts.

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service projects Washington production to be about 118 million bushels, down 1% from 2019.

Yield is expected to average 72 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels from last year.

The state’s growers planted an estimated 1.7 million acres last fall, down 50,000 acres from the previous year. Harvested acres are forecast to be 1.64 million acres, down 60,000 acres from 2019.

“(I’m) a bit surprised they have higher winter yield than last year given crop conditions relative to last year,” said Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission. “We don’t know what impact some of the sporadic frosts have had” on the crop.

Idaho growers planted an estimated 730,000 acres in the fall of 2019, unchanged from the previous year. Harvested acres were forecast to be 690,000 acres, up 10,000 acres from a year ago.

NASS projects Idaho’s winter wheat crop to be 58.7 million bushels, down 1% from 2019. Yield was expected to average 85 bushels per acre, down 2.0 bushels from last year.

“Idaho has a very consistent wheat crop,” said Blaine Jacobson, executive director of the Idaho Wheat Commission. “We are nearly level with last year.”

More than 60% of the crop is grown under irrigation and 30% on the Palouse, which has consistent rainfall, Jacobson said. That leaves about 10% on dryland farms and subject to inconsistent rainfall.

April was drier than normal, but the month began with good topsoil and subsoil moisture, Jacobson said.

“Our reservoirs are full or nearly full so we anticipate having sufficient water this year,” he said.

In Oregon, growers planted 740,000 acres of winter wheat in the fall of 2019, unchanged from the previous year. Growers expect to harvest 730,000 acres, unchanged from the previous year.

Production is forecast at 45.3 million bushels, down 9% from 2019. Yield is expected to average 62 bushels per acre, down 6 bushels from last year.

Oregon Wheat CEO Amanda Hoey said that’s what she expected for the state.

But she still sees potential variability in yields depending on soil moisture in the central and eastern portions of the state.

“We could see some changes,” she said.

Nationally, production is expected to be 1.25 billion bushels, down 4% from 2019. Yield is forecast at 51.7 bushels per acre, down 1.9 bushels from last year.

Growers planted 30.8 million acres in the fall of 2019, down 384,000 acres from the previous year. Harvested acres were forecast at 24.3 million acres, down 52,000 acres from 2019.

U.S. white winter wheat production is forecast at 224 million bushels, down 3% from last year. Of the total, 16.2 million bushels are hard white and 207 million bushels are soft white.

Hard red winter wheat, at 733 million bushels, is down 12% from 2019. Soft red winter wheat, at 298 million bushels, is up 24% from 2019.

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