WASHINGTON, DC, US —The grain market’s attention ahead of the release on Aug. 12 of the US Department of Agriculture’s August Crop Production report was centered around the harvest of a troubled US hard red spring wheat crop. To the surprise of traders, the USDA’s updated spring wheat production forecast was left virtually unchanged from July while its hard red winter wheat production estimate was lowered 3%.
The USDA lowered its forecast for all-wheat production in 2021 to 1,696,805,000 bushels, down 3% from the July forecast and down 129,015,000 bushels, or 7%, from 1,825,820,000 bushels in 2020. Most of the decrease from July was based on lower estimates for hard red winter and soft white winter wheat.
The 2021 US winter wheat crop was projected at 1,318,735,000 bushels, down 3% from the July forecast but up 11% from 2020. The forecast fell below analysts’ pre-report expectations for all winter wheat, which ranged from 1.33 billion bushels to 1.376 billion bushels.
The USDA forecast the production of hard red winter wheat at 776.855 million bushels, down 3% from the previous projection but up 18% from 658.64 million bushels in 2020. The forecast fell below the range of analysts’ expectations, which was 795 million bushels to 816 million bushels.
Soft red winter wheat was forecast at 365.508 million bushels, up 1% from the July projection and up 37% from 266.235 million bushels in 2020. Soft white winter wheat production was forecast at 160.241 million bushels, down 12% from the July outlook and down 32% from 233.969 million bushels in 2020. Hard white winter wheat was forecast at 16.131 million bushels, down 2% from the previous projection but up 32% from 12.179 million bushels in 2020.
In the top hard red winter wheat production state of Kansas, production of that crop was estimated by the USDA at 379.5 million bushels, unchanged from the July number but up 26% from 281.25 million bushels in 2020. Winter wheat yield in Kansas was forecast at 55 bushels an acre, unchanged from July but up 22% from 45 bushels per acre in 2020.
Production of spring wheat other than durum in 2021 was forecast by the USDA at 343.41 million bushels, down 0.3% from the July projection but down 41% from 585.99 million bushels in 2020. The projection fell within the range of analysts’ pre-report expectations, which was 300 million bushels to 365 million bushels.
Other-spring wheat yield was forecast at 30.6 bushels per acre, down 0.1 bushels per acre from July and down 18 bushels per acre from 2020. Hard red spring wheat production was forecast at 305.421 million bushels, down fractionally from the July outlook and down 42% from 530.152 million bushels in 2020.
In the top spring wheat production state of North Dakota, production was estimated at 172.5 million bushels, up 7% from the July projection, but down 37% from 275.87 million bushels in 2020.
The 2021 durum outturn was projected at 34.66 million bushels, down 7% from the July forecast and down 34.148 million bushels, or 50%, from 68.808 million bushels in 2020.