ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Wheat Production on the Wane in the USA

Updated on October 31, 2017
Qkickapoo profile image

Quint entered the grain marketing business fresh out of college in 1971. Posted at varied locations, he traded in corn, wheat, and soybeans.

The Great Plains continue to produce the majority of US wheat, but at a declining rate

wheat heads come out in May
wheat heads come out in May | Source

Great Plains farmers are planting fewer acres to wheat

Three consecutive seasons of reduced wheat planting seems likely to continue for a fourth season. Soybean acreage expansion may be the biggest cause. Great Plains wheat growers, particularly toward the north, are planting more and more soybeans these days. In fact, North Dakota is now ranked number four in total soybean acres among the states. And where soybeans are concentrated, corn acres tend to also show up.


Wheat ripens for harvest by early summer

Ripe wheat heads
Ripe wheat heads | Source

Seventeen years ago there were ten million acres of wheat sown in North Dakota and only 2 million acres of soybeans, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This year North Dakota growers seeded less than 7 millions acres of wheat, but planted more than seven million acres of soybeans. See the switch? Parallel trends have also developed in Kansas, Oklahoma and the other Great Plains states where wheat has been the dominant crop for generations.


Hutchinson, Kansas wheat terminal elevator
Hutchinson, Kansas wheat terminal elevator | Source

I don’t see any good reason for wheat acreage in the USA to reverse the recent declining trend and begin to recover. It occurs to me that the nitrogen-fixing characteristic of soybeans leads to higher wheat yields in following seasons. That re-enforces this trend in North Dakota and other Great Plains states toward equal acres of the two crops each year. That would mean every wheat field had soybeans in it the year before and vice versa. A 50-50 rotation of both crops probably maximizes profit from farmland.

So, soybean acres have expanded generally at the expense of wheat. But that's not just in the Great Plains. Trends in lesser wheat states such as Missouri are the same. Additionally, if yield advantages haven’t been enough, the prices of wheat and soybeans have shifted the past six years, favoring soybean revenue over wheat (based on Chicago futures).

And thus, we have the fewest wheat acres planted within the USA in more than forty years. Soybean acres planted have set new records in recent years, taking acres away from wheat production.


© 2017 Quinton James

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Qkickapoo profile imageAUTHOR

      Quinton James 

      12 months ago from American Midwest

      Livestock feeding economics are woven into these decisions for which crops to plant, too. Good point. I think "mega farms" are maybe more focused on net dollars returned per acre and so adding soybeans to the rotation brings nitrogen to soils, supporting grain yields the following season. Corn gets worked into that rotation, too... With more corn, I think you'll eventually get more intensive livestock feeding and maybe that also reinforces the observation you shared...

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      12 months ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      I have not seen any wheat grown in my area in 40 years. Here they rotate Corn, Soybeans, Alfalfa, and Milo. The main reason for this I believe is they use the fields after harvest to feed cattle. Wheat doesn't promote the weight gain the other crops do.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)