Wheat seedings, stocks estimates lower than expected

USDA on Friday projected winter wheat seedings last fall for the 2013 crop totaled 41.8 million acres

Published on: Jan 11, 2013

    The balance sheet for wheat tightened up last week.

     USDA on Friday projected winter wheat seedings last fall for the 2013 crop totaled 41.8 million acres. The trade expected 43 million acres, according to Mike Krueger, market analyst with The Money Farm.

     USDA on Friday also lowered its ending stocks projection for wheat from 754 million to 716 million bushels.

     “The smaller wheat acreage number might attract more attention to the fact that the hard red winter wheat rating (prior to dormancy) was the worst ever,” Krueger said during a teleconference hosted by the Minneapolis Grain Exchange.

     USDA projected plantings of hard red winter wheat totaled 29.1 million acres, down 2 percent. Analysts previously projected an increase in hard red wheat plantings of 1 million to 1.5 million acres.

     “It was just simply too dry to plant hard red winter wheat,” Krueger said. “On the other hand, soft red winter wheat seedings were about half a million acres above expectations.”

     Seedings of soft red winter wheat were projected to total 9.42 million acres, up 16 percent from a year ago.

     In Illinois, farmers last fall planted 830,000 acres of soft red wheat, up 26 percent from the previous year.

     Illinois growers likely were encouraged to plant more wheat due to excellent yields and a quality crop harvested last year. The Illinois wheat yield for 2012 was pegged at 63 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels from 2011.

     Meanwhile, USDA raised its projections for feed and residual use of wheat by 35 million bushels.

     Krueger believes increased use of wheat, lower stocks, and the possibility of a smaller-than-expected crop this year are bullish for the market.

     He projected wheat prices at Chicago could climb back above $8 per bushel. USDA adjusted its 2012/13 season average price down a dime to a range of $7.65 to $8.15 per bushel.