Northwest winter wheat production sags 40% during drought

Date:
September 30, 2021
Northwest winter wheat production sags 40% during drought

Pacific Northwest winter wheat farmers were pummeled by this year's hot, dry weather, as the region's production plummeted 40% from last year to its lowest level since 1991, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

In Washington, the drop was even more precipitous. This year's wheat production was the lowest since 1964, said Joe Bippert, Washington Grain Commission program director.

According to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, winter wheat production in Washington was 71 million bushels, down 47% from last year. The average yield was 42 bushels per acre, down 45% from 76 bushels per acre from 2020.

Washington farmers planted 1.75 million acres of winter wheat for 2021, down 2.8% from 1.8 million acres in 2020. The harvested area, at 1.69 million acres, is down 3.4% from 1.75 million acres in 2020.

Washington farmers planted 580,000 acres of spring wheat in 2021, up from 550,000 acres in 2020. The harvested area, at 540,000 acres, was down 0.9%.

Spring wheat production in Washington was 16.2 million bushels, down 51% from last year. The average yield was estimated at 30 bushels per acre, down 51% from 61 bushels per acre in 2020.

Idaho's wheat farmers fared little better.

Idaho winter wheat production was 45.4 million bushels, down 32% from 66.7 million bushels last year. The average yield was 71 bushels per acre, down from 101 bushels per acres in 2020, a 30% decline.

Idaho growers planted 710,000 acres of winter wheat for 2021, down from 720,000 acres in 2020.

They planted 510,000 acres of spring wheat in 2021, unchanged from 2020. The harvested area, at 485,000 acres, is down 2% from 495,000 acres in 2020.

Spring wheat production in Idaho was 30.6 million bushels, down 32% from 45 million last year, with yield estimated at 63 bushels per acre, down 31% from 91 bushels per acre from 2020.

Oregon farmers planted 720,000 acres of winter wheat for 2021, down 2.7% from 740,000 acres in 2020. The harvested area, at 705,000 acres, is down 2.8% from 725,000 acres.

Winter wheat production in Oregon was 31.7 million bushels, down 32% from last year, with yield estimated at 45 bushels per acre, down 30% from 64 bushels per acre in 2020.

Oregon doesn't raise enough spring wheat for it to register in NASS data most years. An Oregon Wheat Commission variety survey indicates 7% of total plantings could be anticipated as spring wheat planting, Oregon Wheat CEO Amanda Hoey said.

There were "no surprises in the figures, given the conditions experienced in the year," Hoey said. "It is consistent with the anticipated reduction in total production expected for the year in an overall statewide 30-plus percent reduction."

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