Wheat Acres Drop to 100-Year Low

November 27, 2017 04:10 PM
Winter wheat

A recent Twitter post by a farmer sums up the views of many U.S. wheat growers today.

“Yes, I’m planting wheat, and no, I don’t know why,” the farmer said.

There are only a couple of scenarios where growing wheat makes sense for farmers, according to Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist for INTL FCStone.

“We have some parts of the country, particularly in the High Plains, where they don’t have a lot of alternatives, but we also have areas where they’ve finally received some rain,” he says. “They’re putting wheat in as a cover crop and will graze it off during the winter and then decide in the spring whether to add fertilizer and save it for grain.”

While there are farmers who raise wheat as a rotational crop, Suderman says it doesn’t pay off economically.

Wheat acres are at a 100-year low, and he expects decreasing acres in the U.S. to continue because of the large number of world stocks on hand. He estimates acres will be down another 4% to 6% in 2018.

“Currency exchange rates are encouraging expansion overseas such as in the Black Sea area, while the U.S. contract acres,” Suderman says. “We need to go for the quality market. Farmers here really need to plant for protein wheat and sell it as such.

“We’re going to have to have a major weather problem somewhere in a major wheat-producing part of the world to turn things around for the U.S., and right now there’s none on the horizon.”

Back to news


Spell Check

Al Rastapkevicius
Dutton, MI
11/29/2017 05:52 AM

  The benefits of having wheat in the rotation come in the soybean and corn crops following wheat. Over 20 year study of corn, soybeans and wheat in all possible rotation combinations indicate the highest return long term has wheat as part of corn soybean rotation. Even higher returns when red clover interseeded into wheat. See University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada long term trials. (State says Michigan as closest to Ontario.)


Corn College TV Education Series


Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!


Market Data provided by QTInfo.com
Brought to you by Beyer