U.S. durum down 45%, spring wheat down 21%

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its July 12 Crop Production report forecast 2017 U.S. durum wheat production down 45% from 2016, spring wheat other than durum down 21% and winter wheat down 23%, although the latter was up 2% from the June forecast.

Durum production was forecast at 57.495 million bushels, down 45% from 104.116 million bushels in 2016, based on a forecast yield of 30.9 bushels an acre, down 13.1 bushels from last year, and expected harvested area of 1.86 million acres, unchanged from the June 30 Acreage report but down 21% from 2016. If realized, durum production would be the lowest since 54.056 million bushels in 2014.

Production of spring wheat other than durum was forecast at 422.88 million bushels, down 21% from 534.027 million bushels in 2016, based on a yield of 40.3 bushels an acre, down 6.9 bushels from last year, and harvested area of 10.5 million acres, unchanged from June but down 7% from last year. Of the total, 385 million bushels was hard red spring wheat, down 22% from 2016.

Winter wheat production was estimated at 1.28 billion bushels, up 2% from the June forecast but down 23% from 1.67 billion bushels in 2016, based on an average yield of 49.7 bushels an acre, up 0.8 bushels from June but down 5.6 bushels from last year, and harvested area of 25.8 million acres, unchanged from the June Acreage report but down 15% from 2016. If realized, the average yield would be the second highest on record after 2016, the USDA said. Of the total, 758 million bushels was hard red winter wheat, up 2% from June, 306 million bushels was soft red winter, up 3%, and white was 216 million bushels, up 3%, including 198 million bushels of soft white winter and 18.5 million bushels of hard white.

All wheat production in 2017 was forecast at 1.76 billion bushels, down 549.937 million bushels, or 24%, from 2.31 billion bushels in 2016.

The USDA forecasts for all wheat, winter wheat and other spring wheat were above the average of trade expectations while the durum number was below.

Kansas City and Chicago winter wheat futures were down about 10c to 15c a bushel and Minneapolis spring wheat futures were down about 1c to 8c a bushel after the Crop Report on July 12. Minneapolis futures have soared to multi-year highs recently due to drought in the key spring wheat production areas of Montana and North and South Dakota.

U.S. oats production was forecast at 53.674 million bushels, down 17% from 2016, based on an average yield of 61 bushels an acre, down 5 bushels, and harvested area of 880,000 acres, unchanged from the June Acreage report but down 10% from 2016. If realized, production would be the second lowest in records back to 1866 after 50.126 million bushels in 2011.

Barley production was forecast at 142.967 million bushels, down 28% from 2016, based on an average yield of 73.5 bushels an acre, down 4.4 bushels from last year, and harvested area of 1.95 million acres, unchanged from June but down 24% from last year. If realized, 2017 production would be the lowest since 117.390 million bushels in 1934.

It was the first survey-based forecasts for durum, other spring wheat, barley and oats. Estimates were based on conditions as of July 1.

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