Analysts Estimate US Winter Wheat Seedings Lower - But How Much?

Perhaps the most eagerly awaited out of a raft of USDA data due for release Monday is the US winter wheat plantings estimate.

Everybody seems to agree that acreage will be lower, but by how much exactly?

All wheat 2008 acres were 46.181 million.

The lowest estimate on the radar for the 2009 crop is 42.92 million acres from North American Risk Management. The highest is 45.80 million acres from Citigroup. That's quite a wide range we have here, 7% down from NARM and less than 1% lower from Citigroup.

It's amazing who emails me these days as Nogger's Blog becomes more widely read.

For what it's worth I have been hearing some independent reports that a fairly significant reduction is on the cards. Not only that but also, depending on what happens between here and the spring, one way or another final production could be substantially reduced next summer.

Farmers in Arkansas have cut back plantings from 970,000 acres to just 350,000 acres of soft red winter wheat this fall, according to my info.

Not only that, but with the price of nitrogen an phosphorus still "very high" my informant says that come February, some farmers “may decide not to fertilize and just plow up what they’ve got.”

You can tell I'm not making this up because there is no z in fertilise nor any w in plough.

Basis was the killer for US farmers last season, those that thought they'd sold at a good price got shafted when they found that the differential between futures price and cash price was $2.50/bushel.

He netted just $3/bushel in the end for his wheat. Not a princely sum then, even less attractive back in September when the planting decisions were being made based on potential selling & fertiliser prices then.