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05-10-13 *USDA/NASS* Colorado Crop Production Report…May 2013

Posted by Brian Allmer on May 10, 2013

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CLICK HERE to visit the USDA/NASS CO Website


Winter wheat production in Colorado, based on conditions as of May 1, 2013, is forecast at 61.95 million bushels according to the Colorado Agricultural Statistics Service. This forecast is 16 percent below last year’s production of 73.78 million bushels and 21 percent below the 78.00 million bushel crop produced two years ago. Acreage for harvest, estimated at 1.77 million acres, is 400,000 acres less than a year ago. Average yield is forecast at 35.0 bushels per acre, up 1.0 bushels per acre from last year’s yield, but 10.0 bushels per acre below the record high yield of 45.0 set in 2010. This year’s crop was planted under mostly dry, unfavorable conditions last fall resulting in thin and variable stands going into winter dormancy. Following a dry, mild winter, dry and cool conditions continued well into early spring forcing dryland farmers in the southeastern area of the state to abandon much of their seeded acreage. The cool temperatures experienced in March and April have delayed crop development, statewide. Crop development is currently about three weeks behind normal. Variable soil moisture supplies ranging from very short to adequate exist in most growing areas. Final yield will largely be determined by the combination of moisture and temperature conditions during May and June.

Hay stocks on Colorado farms and ranches as of May 1, 2013 totaled 360,000 tons, up 57 percent from stocks of 230,000 tons on hand last year. Although less hay was produced in 2012 than the previous year, better hay crops last year in some neighboring states reduced the need to export Colorado hay. The poor condition of pasture and range in the state also led to more shipments of hay into Colorado from other states.


Production of winter wheat is forecast at 1.49 billion bushels, down 10 percent from 2012. As of May 1, the United States yield is forecast at 45.4 bushels per acre, down 1.8 bushels from last year. Expected grain area is forecast at 32.7 million acres, down 6 percent from last year. Hard Red Winter (HRW) harvested acreage is down about 14 percent from the previous year. Soft Red Winter (SRW) harvested acreage is expected to be up 21 percent from last year. As of April 28, thirty-three percent of the winter wheat crop in the 18 major producing States was rated in good to excellent condition, 31 percentage points below the same week in 2012. Nationally, 14 percent of the winter wheat crop was headed by April 28, fifteen percentage points behind the 5-year average pace.

In the southern Great Plains States, winter temperatures were moderate, but drought-like conditions during emergence and most of the growing season negatively impacted winter wheat conditions. As a result, dryland yields are expected to suffer from the lack of moisture which occurred during plant development and grain set. Several hard freezes occurred in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas during March and April, affecting earlier maturing varieties. Weather conditions remained cooler and wetter than normal throughout April.

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Cooler than normal spring temperatures coupled with higher than normal precipitation in the Corn Belt States of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Ohio hampered crop development. However, as of April 28, the winter wheat crop in the SRW growing States was in mostly good condition.

Production of Durum wheat in Arizona and California is forecast at a collective 15.6 million bushels, down 35 percent from last year. In California, good quality and few diseases issues were reported. Harvest is expected to begin in Southern California by mid-May.

All hay stored on United States farms May 1, 2013 totaled 14.2 million tons, down 34 percent from a year ago. This is the lowest May 1 stocks level on record. Disappearance from December 1, 2012 – May 1, 2013 totaled 62.4 million tons, compared with 69.3 million tons for the same period a year earlier.

Record-low May 1 hay stocks levels were also established in Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

With the exception of California, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and South Carolina, hay stocks as a percent of production decreased from last year Nationwide. Last year’s historic drought led to a substantial decrease in hay production, and therefore beginning stocks for many States. In many areas, the limited availability of native feedstuffs forced producers to feed their herds earlier than normal. Additionally, a cold, wet spring has limited pasture growth causing prolonged dependence on supplemental roughage and feedstuffs in portions of the Midwest.

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