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 report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service released Friday.
The agency reported that the 41.9 million planted acres are down 2 percent overall from last year. Seeding began in August for the 2014 winter wheat crop, which is harvested in late spring and early summer across the nation.
But 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. Those helped offset large acreage decreases in Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
Utah had a record low acreage, while North Dakota seeded a record high number of wheat acres.The report goes on to say that weather may have played a role.
Other data points from the North Dakota Wheat Commission:
- Nationally, North Dakota typically ranks second to Kansas in total wheat production, though there are years when the state has come out on top, depending on growing conditions. North Dakota was the top wheat producing state in 2009 and 2010.
- North Dakota is number one in the production of two wheat classes: hard red spring and durum. On average, the state's farmers grow nearly half of the nation's hard red spring wheat (250 million bushels) and two-thirds of the durum (50 million bushels).