According to USDA's January 11 crop production report, winter wheat planted area for 2008 is estimated at 46.6 million acres, up 4 percent from 2007. Seeding began last August behind the 5-year average pace and remained behind until mid-November due to a lack of moisture in the Great Plains during much of the seeding period.
Nearly all of the U.S. acreage was seeded by Dec. 1 with the exception of some intended acres in the Southeast and California. Seeding was completed by the end of December in California. The winter wheat crop condition at the end of November was rated at 44 percent good to excellent compared with 53 percent the previous year.
The soft red winter area, at about 10.5 million acres, is up 21 percent from last year. Large acreage increases from last year occurred in all SRW growing states due largely to strong prices and ideal planting and germination conditions.
Winter wheat plantings, which could be an indicator of where cotton acreage is going in 2008, are up 145,000 acres in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.
Meanwhile, Southeast wheat plantings are estimated 285,000 acres higher. North Carolina wheat plantings, up 170,000 acres over last year, are expected to tie the record high set in 1985.
Meanwhile wheat acreage is down around 400,000 acres in the Southwest, 200,000 acres in Texas and 200,000 acres in Oklahoma.