Decreased Winter Wheat Acres
According to the most recent crop report from USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), winter wheat–seeded acreage for 2009 decreased by 9% from 2008, totaling 42.1 million acres. Other results included hard red winter wheat declining 4% to 30.2 million acres, soft red winter wheat declining 26% to 8.29 million acres and white winter wheat gaining 1% from 2008 for a total of 3.62 million acres. NASS connected the decreases to wet weather, falling prices and delayed row-crop harvest.
A report from World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates projected that the U.S. wheat ending stocks for 2008/09 would increase by 32 million bushels. The gain is mainly due to lower domestic use for feed, residuals and seed. The projected season-average farm price was reduced from $6.90 to $6.50.
Ag Sustainability Report
Field to Market, a coalition of grower and conservation organizations, agribusinesses and food companies, released a unique report that aims to create a framework for measuring agriculture sustainability. The past two decades of land, water and energy use, soil loss and climate impact were evaluated on a national scale in corn, soybean, cotton and wheat production. These crops encompassed about 70% of the 305 million acres of U.S. cropland in 2007.
Overall, the report shows a wheat yield increase of 19% per acre while wheat land usage decreased 24% during the past 20 years. The report also shows an 18% decrease in wheat's total energy use and an 11% decrease in total water use. Meanwhile, soil loss decreased 54% and average annual climate impact increased 5% throughout the course of the agriculture sustainability study.
Conducted by 17 experts, the report moves toward creating a comprehensive methodology to establish a standard for measuring agriculture sustainability while allowing growers to apply their own efficiency to their operation. Field to Market is also in the process of finalizing water-quality and biodiversity indicators; the assessment will be available in mid-2009.
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