USDA: Wheat crop expected to increase this year

by Staff report
| June 10, 2022 1:00 AM

PORTLAND — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting a major increase in wheat production in Washington in 2022, according to a report published by the department’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

In a report released in mid-May, NASS forecast a 70% increase in Washington’s 2022 wheat harvest to 121 million bushels from the dismal harvest in 2021. NASS is expecting wheat yields in Washington to average 67 bushels per acre, up 25 bushels from the previous year, when drought and a long heat wave in late June and early July wreaked havoc on the state’s dryland wheat farmers.

According to NASS, Washington wheat farmers planted an estimated 1.85 million acres in the fall of 2021, up 100,000 acres from 2020, and are expected to harvest roughly 1.8 million acres this summer, up 110,000 acres from 2021.

Oregon wheat production for 2022 is forecast at 43.9 million bushels, up 38% from 2021. NASS expects average Oregon wheat yields at 61 bushels per acre, up 16 bushels, while farmers planted an estimated 730,000 acres last fall, up from 720,000 in 2020, and are expected to harvest 720,000 acres this summer, 15,000 more acres than they harvested in 2021.

Nationwide, the total wheat crop is forecast at 1.17 billion bushels, down 8% from 2021, with an average national yield of 47.9 bushels per acre, down 2.3 bushels from the previous year. Total U.S. white winter wheat production is forecast at 230 million bushels, up 38% from 2021, with 15.7 bushels hard white wheat and 214 million bushels soft white wheat. Total hard red winter wheat production for 2022 is estimated to reach 590 million bushels, down 21% from 2021, while soft red winter wheat is forecast to come in at 354 million bushels, down 2% from 2021, according to the NASS report.

In a separate NASS report on hay stocks, the agency said on-farm stocks of hay as of May 1 in Washington fell 18% to 180,000 tons from 220,000 tons in 2021.