Wheat acres expected to increase in 2021

By Jennifer Dorsett

After facing the lowest acreage on record in 2020, it looks like wheat acres are headed for a slight comeback.

Globally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects wheat production will rise to 774 million metric tons, but increased consumption and reduced stocks will keep prices steady.

In another promising sign for wheat farmers, the latest data from U.S. Wheat Associates shows that for the current wheat marketing year, which runs from June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021, sales are up about 19.6 million metric tons or 10 percent over last year’s sales. And a recent American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Market Intel article indicates wheat acreage in the U.S. will increase 1.6 million acres, or nearly 4 percent above last years’s 44.3 million planted acres.

What does this mean for Texas wheat farmers?

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension economists say it should be a decent year for wheat growers, if they get enough rain.

The latest Wheat Outlook, written by Mark Welch, says speculators are bullish on hard red winter wheat and somewhat bearish on soft red winter wheat.

Average Texas cash elevator prices last month were around 5.29 a bushel, 86 cents lower than the five-year December average. Welch wrote his 2021 marketing year plan would be to “price some wheat prior to planting/early fall, mid-winter, late spring and harvest,” adding the likelihood of a drier-than-normal winter would encourage him to tie hedging/contracting to production levels protected by crop insurance.

Upcoming publications from USDA, set for release on Jan. 12, include updated World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), the 2020 Crop

Production Annual Summary, the quarterly Grain Stocks report and annual Winter Wheat and Canola Seedings. These reports will give wheat farmers the latest on wheat stocks and global markets.

U.S. Wheat Associates, the checkoff-funded export market development organization for U.S. wheat, releases weekly market and crop information. That data is available here.

An online Northeast Panhandle Crop Profitability Conference, set for Jan. 7, will discuss market outlooks, including wheat, in further detail. 

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