Wheat acreage declines expected to continue

A grain marketer says the decline in wheat acres is expected to continue throughout the Midwest this year.

Michigan Agricultural Commodities President Bruce Sutherland tells Brownfield soft winter wheat acres have been declining for the past decade.  “I think the average decline is estimated between 10 and 12 percent in the Midwest and Michigan’s right there.  But we did see an uptick in hard wheat acres in the western states, but they were coming off of lower crops the year before so all in all I think wheat continues to be the weak sister.”

He says an elongated harvest season did limit winter wheat plantings this past fall, but the real driver for the reduced acreage is the soybean market.  “Soybeans are the low cost crop, a lot less inputs, and when you have $10 soybeans verses $4 wheat, I think the nod goes to soybeans.”

Some analysts are predicting about a four percent decline in all winter wheat acres in USDA’s January estimate. If realized, it could be the lowest planted wheat acreage in more than 100 years.

Sutherland spoke with Brownfield during the Michigan Agri-Business Association Winter Meeting in Lansing.

AUDIO: Interview with Sutherland

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