USDA projects production drop for Idaho wheat

'Those prices are a little high compared to our local prices'

Idaho’s winter wheat harvest is forecast to decline 14 percent from 2016 to the next harvest, according to a report the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service posted online May 31.

The forecast, dated May 1, anticipates a decline of nearly 3 percent in acreage planted and a 10-11 percent decline in yield per acre. Together, those declines imply Idaho may produce about 8 million fewer bushels of winter wheat this season, down from about 67 million last year to about 58-59 million in 2017.

Meanwhile, the reported winter wheat prices averaged $4.14 per bushel this April – improved from $3.93 per bushel in March, and 8 cents per bushel lower than NASS saw in April 2016. NASS reported spring wheat prices added 11 cents per bushel from $4.65 in April 2016 to $4.76 in April 2017.

“Those prices are a little high compared to our local prices,” Columbia Grain Grangeville manager Brian Lorentz said. “Local prices ranged from $3.75 to $4.00 during that same time frame, and Portland delivered soft white wheat was $4.75-$4.95.”

The NASS also reported a shift in May 1 hay stocks, from more than 900,000 tons on farms in Idaho the past two years to about 500,000 tons – a level roughly similar to 2013, but also the lowest level since May 1 hay stocks dipped to 300,000 tons statewide in 2014. NASS reported hay prices went from $140 per ton in April 2016 to $130 per ton in April 2017.

The number of cattle on feed in Idaho grew from 240,000 in April 2016 to 275,000 this April.

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