July 25, 2021

USDA forecasts slight wheat yield increase

WASHINGTON — Based on June 1 conditions, U.S. winter wheat production is forecast at 1.31 billion bushels, 2% above the May forecast and 12% higher than last year.

The nation’s average yield is forecast at 53.2 bushels per acre, up 1.1 bushels from last month and 2.3 bushels above 2020. If realized, the U.S. winter wheat yield average will be the third highest on record.

‘I’ Wheat

The U.S. Department of Agriculture made slight increases in Illinois and Indiana yield estimates.

Illinois’ yield was increased by a bushel from last month to 75 bushels per acre, compared to 68 in 2020. The state’s harvested acres increased from 520,000 in 2020 to 650,000 this year. If realized, the Prairie State will produce 48.75 million bushels of winter wheat after harvesting 35.36 million a year ago.

USDA added two more bushels to Indiana’s yield average from last month’s projection to now 76 bushels per acre after hitting 70 bushels in 2020. The Hoosier State had a 50,000 acre year-over-year increase to 300,000 in 2021. If the projections reach fruition, Indiana is expected to produce 22.8 million bushels of winter wheat after last year’s 17.5 million bushels.

Other States

Record high yields are forecast in Missouri at 70 bushels per acre and Montana at 51 bushels per acre.

As of May 30, 48% of the winter wheat acreage in the 18 major producing states was rated in good to excellent condition, 3% lower than at the same time last year. Nationally, 79% of the winter wheat crop was headed by May 30, 1% above five-year average pace.

Forecast head counts from the objective yield survey in the six hard red winter states are below last year’s level in Oklahoma and Texas, but above in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, and Nebraska.

Methodology

Objective yield and farm operator surveys were conducted between May 24 and June 6 to gather information on expected yield as of June 1.

The objective yield survey was conducted in 10 states that accounted for 70% of the 2020 winter wheat production.

Farm operators were interviewed to update previously reported acreage data and seek permission to randomly locate two sample plots in selected winter wheat fields. The counts made within each sample plot depended upon the crop’s maturity.

Tom Doran

Field Editor