Colorado winter wheat crop smallest since 2006

USDA announced in its August Crop Production report that the Colorado winter wheat crop is the smallest since 2006. Colorado winter wheat production for 2013 is estimated at 43.5 million bushels, down 59 percent from 73.8 million bushels produced last year, and down 60 percent from the 10-year average crop of 72 million bushels.

The crop was affected by both continuing drought and late freezes this spring.

1.5 million acres of winter wheat were harvested with an average yield of 29.0 bushels per acre. This compares with 2.2 million acres harvested last year and the 10-year average of 2.1 million acres harvested.

That is the lowest amount of harvested acres for Colorado since 1965.

Approximately 700,000 acres were totally abandoned and not harvested in Baca, Prowers, Bent, Kiowa and Cheyenne counties due to poor emergence last fall or drought and freeze damage this spring.

Some farmers in the Holly, Cheyenne Wells and Brandon area harvested no wheat at all, some for the first time in their farm history, and some for the first time since the 1950s.

The value of the crop for 2013 dropped to $308,850,000 from $571,795,000 last year.

Food prices should not be affected due to projections of a record corn crop and a record world wheat crop.

“While the small crop in Colorado won’t greatly affect consumers, it certainly affects individual farmers who had losses on their farms,” said Steve Beedy of Genoa, Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee president, “We wish we could have a great crop every year, but we know dealing with the weather is part of farming.”

Colorado Wheat Harvest Fact Sheet 2013:

Colorado winter wheat production in 2013 is projected at 43,500,000 bushels, down 40 percent from 73,780,000 bushels produced last year, and down 40 percent from the 10-year average crop of 71,978,000 bushels. The estimate for the 2013 Colorado winter wheat crop is based upon 1,500,000 acres being harvested with an average yield of 29.0 bushels per acre. This compares with 2,170,000 acres harvested last year and the 10-year average of 2,122,000 acres harvested. An estimated 2,200,000 acres were planted last fall for harvest in 2013, compared with 2,350,000 acres planted for harvest in 2012 and the 10-year average of 2,395,000 acres planted for harvest.

Wheat prices being paid to Colorado wheat producers are currently in the range of $6.78 – $7.00 per bushel statewide and are projected to average $7.10 per bushel for the full 2013-14 marketing year (July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014). This is lower than the all-time record average price of $7.75 per bushel during this past marketing year, due to projections for a record corn crop and a record world wheat crop.

Colorado is a major winter wheat producing state, ranking sixth in the U.S. in 2009, fifth in 2010, seventh in 2011, and sixth in 2012. This year’s drought and freeze-affected crop puts Colorado in 14th for 2013.

Colorado (hard red) winter wheat is planted in September and harvested the following July. (Hard red) winter wheat is used for yeast breads and hard rolls since it is high in protein and strong in gluten. Colorado is a minor spring wheat producing state, ranking eighth in 2009-12. (Hard red) spring wheat is planted in April and harvested in August. Colorado (hard red) spring wheat is also used for yeast breads and hard rolls since it is high in protein.

More than 80 percent of Colorado’s wheat production is typically exported and is generally one of Colorado’s top ranked exports by dollar volume. During the 2012-13 marketing year, an estimated 59,024,000 bushels of wheat valued at approximately $457,436,200 was exported to 60 different countries. During the past decade, Colorado wheat production has created approximately 16,101 jobs annually. Approximately 7,480 (46%) of these jobs can be directly attributed to wheat exports.

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