The U.S. Department of Agriculture adjusted its forecast for the 2017 Arkansas wheat production, dropping by 8 percent between May 1 and June 1 to about 6.05 million bushels. The yield forecast dropped from 60 bushels per acre in May to 55 bu/ac in June.


The report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, published Friday, June 9, noted that the state’s total acreage for winter wheat dropped by about 5,000 acres from 2016 to about 110,000 acres in 2017, but remained unchanged from May to June.


Jason Kelley, extension wheat and feed grains agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said while weather likely had an affect on yield and production in 2017, market trends were largely responsible for the decrease in wheat acres planted.


“Wheat acres are down considerably this year due to several factors, but low grain prices which reduced overall profitability was the main factor that limited wheat planting last fall,” Kelley said. “Overall yields have been variable with some disappointing yields in fields where water drainage is an issue. However, on highly managed fields, yields have been surprisingly good despite the heavy rainfall most areas of the state received in late April and May.


“Rainfall over the last few weeks has delayed harvest in many areas of the state and has also lowered the test weight of the grain, resulting in dockage for some producers,” he said. “The positive side to the recent rains is that there is ample soil moisture to get good stands of double crop soybeans.”


According to a June 5 report from NASS, about 28 percent of the state’s winter wheat had been harvested as of last week, ahead of the five-year average of 22 percent harvested for this point in the season. The same report listed 27 percent of the crop in “fair” condition, 58 percent in “good” condition and 7 percent in “excellent” condition.


Details: www.uaex.edu or contact a local Cooperative Extension Service agent.


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


— Ryan McGeeney is with the U of A System Division of Agriculture.