An increase in planted area, production and lower prices are among the U.S. wheat highlights USDA shared Feb. 24, at its 2022 Agricultural Outlook Forum.
These U.S. wheat highlights and USDA’s outlook for all U.S. agricultural products represent the first predictions for marketing year 2022/23. The new year for U.S. wheat starts June 1, 2022, and changes are to be expected. In addition, it is important to note that USDA’s outlook does not account for unknown potential effects of the conflict in Ukraine.
In the “Grains and Oilseeds Outlook for 2022,” USDA cited high current wheat prices and tight stocks to predict U.S. farmers will plant 48.0 million acres (19.43 hectares) to wheat for harvest in 2022. That is about 3% more than was planted for 2021. Using an assumption of normal spring planting and summer crop development conditions, USDA expects U.S. wheat prices will come down in 2022 with higher U.S. wheat production and ending stocks.
Winter Wheat Up; Competition for Spring Area
U.S. wheat highlights included the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimate of 34.4 million acres of winter wheat planted for harvest in 2022. That is the largest area since 2016/17. The report noted that “combined spring and durum wheat plantings for 2022/23 are also projected higher,” but could be constrained by higher potential return from other crops that farmers in the Northern Plains can grow.
Again, assuming normal conditions through harvest and the long-term trend, USDA initially expects average yield (production per acre) for all U.S. wheat in 2022 to increase 11% from the drought-affected 2021 yield. If farmers achieve this increase, USDA expects the larger crop will help increase total U.S. 2022/23 supplies by 5% to 2.708 billion bushels or 73.71 million metric tons (MMT).
Total U.S. Wheat Use Up a Bit
Annual use for food, seed and feed is one U.S. wheat highlight that stays relatively flat. And USDA expects 2022 to be no exception. Total domestic wheat use in 2022 is predicted at 30.68 MMT.
USDA does expect U.S. wheat exports to rebound slightly from 2021/22 to 23.14 MMT. “U.S. wheat export prices have continued to rise amid tight supplies, making the United States less competitive globally,” USDA reported.
Given these predicted market factors, USDA expects the United States will end the marketing year with 19.9 MMT of wheat stocks. That is up 13% from USDA’s current prediction for 2021/22, but still less than the 5-year average.
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As USDA adjusts its U.S. wheat highlights and global estimates each month, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) updates its comprehensive Supply and Demand Report. It is available online at the USW website. For additional U.S. wheat highlights, free subscriptions to USW Price Report, Harvest Report, and the Wheat Letter blog are available here.