Where Did The Million Acres of Wheat Go?

Published on: 13:45PM Aug 18, 2011

There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this morning about how the USDA issued information regarding the current wheat harvest that normally would required a Freedom of Information Act request to get.

Previous reports from the USDA had pegged the spring wheat crop at about 12.7 million acres.  The report just released reduced this acreage report down to 11.7 million acres.  As a direct result, the price of spring wheat has gone from a low of about $8 this month to slightly more than $9.

The 12.7 million number was reported as part of the National Agricultural Statistics Services (NASS) and the 11.7  million number came from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) which is constantly getting updates from farmers that are not always incorporated into the NASS system.

The primary cause for the decrease in acres relates to the more than 2.6 million acres that did not get planted in the northern U.S. Plains.  The excess rain and flooding in these areas prevented many farmers from planting any crops.

Hopefully, this release of data without a formal Freedom of Information Act request will lead to this data being reported more timely in the future.