WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2015 – U.S. farmers have planted about 40.5 million acres of winter wheat for harvest in 2015, down 5 percent from a year earlier, USDA said today in a report.

About 29.5 million acres of red winter wheat were sown, down 3 percent the previous year, USDA said. Some 7.5 million acres of the soft red winter variety were planted, down 12 percent. White winter wheat seeded area totaled 3.48 million acres, up 2 percent, USDA said. Seeding began in August and by the end of September was well ahead of the five-year average; field work was mostly complete by the middle of November.

Kansas is once again the biggest winter-wheat state, with 9,400 planted acres, down 2 percent from a year ago. Texas (5,900 acres) and Oklahoma (5,100 acres) are the next biggest, according to USDA figures.

USDA’s estimates were based on a probability survey that includes a sample of over 83,000 farm operators. The survey was conducted in the first two weeks of December.

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In a separate report – World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) -- USDA said the average farm price for wheat will be $6.10 a bushel for the 2014-2015 marketing year, up from $6 projected in December while down from $6.87 in the previous season.

Here are some highlights from the WASDE and other USDA reports released today:

--The U.S. corn crop will reach a record 14.216 billion bushels, down from 14.407 billion bushels predicted in December while 2.8 bigger than the previous record crop of 13.829 billion bushels in 2014. About 5.175 billion bushels will be used to make ethanol, up slightly from 5.134 billion in the previous year. Cash corn prices will average $3.65 a bushel for the 2014-2015 crop year, up from $3.50 predicted in December while down from $4.46 in the previous season.

--The soybean crop will also be the biggest ever, at 3.969 billion bushels, up from 3.958 billion forecast in December and up from 3.358 billion harvested in 2014, USDA said.

--The amount of corn in storage on Dec. 1, 2014, totaled 11.2 billion bushels, up 7 percent from a year earlier.

--About 2.52 billion bushels of soybeans were in storage on Dec. 1, up 17 percent from a year earlier.

--All wheat stored in storage totaled 1.52 billion bushels at the start of December, up 3 percent from a year earlier.

(This story was corrected on Jan. 13 to show that Kansas is the biggest winter-wheat state.)


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