NW Winter Wheat Outlook 'Considerably
by Matthew Weaver
Pacific Northwest wheat farmers are expected to produce nearly 56% more winter wheat this year coming off last year's drought.
USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service projects the region will produce nearly 231 million bushels, up from 148 million bushels last year.
"With the crop ratings inching up week over week following the steady precipitation across much of the state, we are considerably more optimistic than this point last year," said Amanda Hoey, Oregon Wheat CEO. "The estimates are early for crop production yields, so they are likely to still change, and we remain cautious given the subsoil moisture levels."
"It will be good if the projected increase in winter wheat is realized," said Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission. "Certainly there has been more moisture this spring compared to last year's drought. This is the first estimate of yield and they often are adjusted as there is still quite a bit of time before harvest begins."
Washington saw the biggest jump, with 120.6 million bushels, up nearly 70% from nearly 71 million bushels in 2021. Average yield per acre is expected to be 67 bushels, up from 42 bushels last year.
Idaho is projected to produce 66.4 million bushels per acre, up 46% from 45.4 million bushels last year. Average yield per acre is expected to be 91 bushels, up from 71 bushels last year.
That would tie for third-highest yield of all time, said Casey Chumrau, executive director of the Idaho Wheat Commission. Winter wheat yields in Idaho last year were a 30-year low, she said.
Oregon is expected to produce nearly 44 million bushels, up 38% from 31.7 million bushels last year. Average yield per acre is expected to be 61 bushels, up from 45 bushels in 2021.
Across the U.S., production projections are down 8%, dropping from 1.28 billion bushels to 1.17 billion. Average projected yield per acre is also down, from 50.2 bushels to 47.9 bushels this year.
"It has been a cool, wet spring in Idaho, resulting in slow crop emergence and late spring plantings," Chumrau said. "Much of the winter wheat is still small and we are looking for warmer weather in the next few weeks so crops start growing and farmers can finish planting."
"Timely rains are always critical," Squires said. "Hopefully we will not experience the high sustained heat that we saw last year in June."
Conditions that boost yields are also favorable for stripe rust, Hoey noted.
"Overall, the increased precipitation is supporting growth of a healthy crop and if it continues, we would expect to see a marked improvement over last year," she said.
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