November 5, 2009
While a USDA August survey had Colorado in 3rd place, behind Kansas and Washington, in winter wheat production, newly updated figures from the Agricultural Statistics Service now show it in second, just behind Kansas.
Washington has moved into third place.
An estimated production of 98 million bushels of winter wheat harvested helped boost Colorado into second place for the first time.
On a 10-year average, Colorado has remained in 8th place in U.S. winter wheat production, and was 10th last year. Cool June weather during the grain filling period and abundant moisture helped increase the harvest, observes Darrell Hanavan, Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee4 executive director.
Crop failures in Texas and Oklahoma also improved Colorado's standing.
"Colorado's near-record yields far surpassed all of our expectations," says Chris Tallman, a third generation farmer near Brandon, Colo. "We knew we had an above-average crop, but couldn't have anticipated being second in the U.S. winter wheat production. I've never raised such a good crop on so little moisture.
"This crop shows that the commitment and perseverance of Colorado farmers sometimes pays off."
Colorado farmers have to sell more wheat to make the same amount of money as last year. Average price for last year's crop was $6.47 a bushel, but the current level is between $3.50 and $4 a bushel.
Colorado made the jump over Washington in winter wheat production when USDA adjusted the estimate of wheat acres in the state from 2,400,000 to 2,450,000 in August. The estimated yield was also adjusted upward from 39 bushels to 40 per acre.
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