Wheat is a critical source of starch and energy that keeps humanity humming. It’s loaded with dietary fiber, B vitamins, protein, and phytochemicals. On a global scale, China, India, Russia, the US, and Canada are the top wheat producers. Ukraine is in the top 10 and Russia’s incursion has caused predictable supply disruptions that are curtailing deliveries and driving up the price.
Stateside there are seven principal classes of wheat grown and consumed in the US. All seven classes have a different end-use and production depends on the region. Hard red spring and hard red winter wheat make up over half of all production (60%), followed by soft red winter and soft white.
In terms of the major state producers, Kansas is typically the number one wheat-producing state. With an impressive 7.3 million acres available to the Sunflower State, it should come as no surprise that Kansas is also known as the Wheat State. Close behind is North Dakota with roughly 6.5 million acres devoted to wheat, followed by Montana, Texas, and Oklahoma.
Conditions, however, are not overly favorable for Kansas in 2022. The USDA’s 2022 wheat production forecast anticipates overall production to be 8% lower compared to 2021. Kansas in particular is on pace to harvest 39.7 bushels per acre, down from 47.4 in 2021. In fact, the US’s 2022 overall wheat harvest might end up being the third-smallest over the last 20 years.
North Dakota, on the other hand, appears headed for a bumper crop of spring wheat. The state’s Wheat Quality Council is forecasting a yield of 49.1 bushels per acre. This would be a North Dakota record. Despite a down year, the US is still well-positioned to deliver a bumper spring wheat crop led by North Dakota’s efforts. A quarter of global wheat exports were placed at risk following the Russian invasion. Several countries are desperately seeking to refill grain silos and US production is their main hope.
Meanwhile, persistent drought in the number 3 producer, Montana, has the farming community in the doldrums. Texas is in a similar position as is Oklahoma. The USDA Crop Production Report estimates 60 million bushels for Oklahoma’s winter wheat harvest. This is a troubling 48% lower compared to 2021.
North Dakota is clearly carrying the weight for US spring wheat production. In a year marred by supply chain upheavals and war, this is welcome news.
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