Wheat more attractive to U.S. farmers with corn price at 3-yr low
To be sure, farmers in the largest corn-growing states such as Illinois and Iowa will be reluctant to give up some of that acreage in favor of wheat. But farmers in places such as Kansas and North Dakota, which experienced big shifts to corn in recent years, may switch some fields back to wheat.
U.S. corn acreage has risen 24.1 million acres (9.8 million hectares) to 97.4 million acres during the last 20 years while wheat plantings have fallen 16.0 million to 56.2 million acres.
In Kansas, the largest wheat-producing state in the United States, farmers seeded 9.5 million acres of wheat last year, down 1 million acres from 10 years ago, and 2.6 million less than farmers in that state seeded 20 years ago. Corn acreage in Kansas has grown 2.5 million acres during the same time period.
But corn has not provided the bountiful harvests in many parts of the Plains states, causing farmers to question why they made the switch.
"Corn ... they have struggled with it a couple of times now because of the drought, so things are looking promising for wheat," said Jason Lamprecht, a senior statistician at the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service office in Topeka, Kansas.
Good rain across Kansas this autumn has given farmers the best planting conditions for winter wheat in years.
"They are not rookies as far as planting wheat," said Shawn McCambridge, grains analyst at Jefferies Bache. "That is an easy switch for them."
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