Wheat ranks third among U.S. field crops in planted acreage, production and gross farm receipts, behind corn and soybeans. Production has, however, dropped off over the past decade. USDA estimates U.S. farmers planted 46 million acres to wheat for the 2017/18 growing season, down from 50 million in 2016/17 and over 63 million in 2008. In contrast, U.S. farmers this spring planted more than 90 million acres each of corn and soybeans.
Market fundamentals certainly influence planting decisions, but steady gains in corn and soybean yields also have helped motivate farmers to plant those crops while gains in wheat yields have fallen behind. According to a University of Minnesota study, global wheat yields are increasing at a rate of 0.9 percent annually, compared with 1.6 percent for corn and 1.3 percent for soybeans. USDA figures show similar trends. Read the rest of the story here.