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Serving: MI
Aerial view of combines working during the wheat harvest, Schields & Sons Farming, Goodland, Kansas USA. Blaine-Harrington III/Getty images
WHEAT HARVEST: USDA forecasted Michigan’s wheat harvest to be 81 bushels per acre, up 10 bushels from the previous year. Final counts won’t be made until early fall.

Did Michigan wheat growers harvest more this year?

The National Agricultural Statistics Service's forecast calls for 3.18 million more bushels than in 2019.

Michigan wheat farmers are waiting to see if USDA’s earlier prediction of an increased yield of 81 bushels per acre is going to come true. The past wheat crop has been decreasing because of some tough fall weather and growers’ inability to get the wheat they wanted into the ground in ideal conditions. Last year, the average yield was only 71 bushels per acre.

In June, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Great Lakes Region office released a harvest forecast indicating that Michigan wheat growers would harvest 460,000 acres this summer, down from 480,000 acres in 2019. Acreage planted this year is forecast at 20,000 acres less than last year’s 540,000. NASS forecasted total Michigan production to be 37.26 million bushels.

When the final numbers are in, and if that yield forecast pans out, the 2020 wheat yield will be 10 bushels per acre above 2019, and the crop will be up nearly 3.18 million bushels from last year.

In the rest of the U.S., the forecast has not been so rosy, but it is remaining about flat. Total production of 1.2 billion bushels would be a 38 million-bushel increase from a year ago.  Meanwhile, average national yield was predicted to be 52.1 bushels per acre, down from 53.6 bushels per acre from a year ago.

The Michigan Wheat Program will let Michigan Farmer subscribers know the actual final yield when the final USDA-NASS numbers come in.

2020 Summer Wheat Field Day

The Michigan Wheat Program’s annual Summer Wheat Field Day was held virtually this year because of COVID-19 rules. Even though the format was different, the meeting continues to be an outstanding event with registrations at nearly 170.

A highlight of the day in the past has been the opportunity for growers to view the research plots and talk with researchers about their projects. Organizers tried to keep the event as interactive as possible, by including videos and photos from the field.

The videos and handout materials from the 2020 Summer Wheat Field Day will be available at under the Education and Previous Events tabs.

Ramping up research for 2020-21

The key purpose for establishing the Michigan Wheat Program was to fund research on yield and quality issues to help Michigan wheat farmers. The group is already working to fund research for the next fiscal year.

In the past, key areas of research designated by the board included breeding and genetics; disease management; nutrient management; processing and quality; cover crops; high management; health; diagnostics; double cropping with soybeans; marketing; rotation; variety trials and weed management.

When research projects are complete, those final reports will be online at The different topic areas are listed, so you can focus your search via topic.

Pollok-Newsom is the executive director of the Michigan Wheat Program.

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