WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The first acreage estimate of the growing season shows U.S. farmers planted fewer acres of winter wheat for harvest this year, according to a Friday report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
The 41.9 million acres planted are down 2 percent overall from last year, the agency reported. Seeding began in August for the 2014 winter wheat crop, which is harvested in late spring and early summer across the nation.
On the other hand, plantings of hard red winter wheat — the type primarily used to make bread — were estimated to be up 2 percent at 30.1 million acres.
Significantly more hard red wheat acres were seeded in Colorado, Montana and North Dakota, the agency reported. That helped offset large acreage decreases in Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
Utah had a record low acreage, North Dakota a record high.
“Planting conditions probably played into that,” said Justin Gilpin, executive director for the industry group Kansas Wheat. “But it also will be interesting, because of the cold streak we had, to see how some of that increased acreage out north will come through.”
Also probably driving the rise in hard red winter wheat is the fact that during the fall it was trading at equal the value of spring wheat.