Why Are Farmers Still Growing Wheat?

November 9, 2017 03:26 PM

After the USDA released its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) Thursday, corn and soybeans took the lead story away from wheat. Ending stocks for wheat for 2017/18 have been lowered 25 million bushels, the report citing increased exports as the cause.

Farmers have been planting winter wheat, and some of them don’t understand why they’re doing so. Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist for INTL FCStone, says the answer to that question depends on what part of the country you live.

“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 said.

Suderman says while there are farmers that raise wheat as a rotational crop, it “doesn’t pay off economically.”

Wheat acres are at a 100-year low, and he expects the 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 percent in 2018.

“We’re growing wheat all over the world,” he said. “We need to go for the quality market--farmers really need to plant for protein wheat.”

Watch Suderman’s full comments on AgDay above.

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