Winter wheat seeded area for 2009 is expected to total 42.1 million acres, down 9 percent from 2008. Approximate class acreage breakdowns are: Hard Red Winter, 30.2 million; Soft Red Winter, 8.29 million; and White Winter, 3.62 million.

Winter Wheat: Planted area for harvest in 2009 is estimated at 42.1 million acres, down 9 percent from 2008. Seeding began last August behind the 5-year average pace and remained behind until mid-November due to wet weather and delayed row crop harvest. Nearly all of the U.S. acreage was seeded by December 1 with the exception of some intended acres in the Southeast and California. Seeding was complete by the end of December in California. The winter wheat crop condition at the end of November was rated 65 percent good to excellent compared with 44 percent the previous year.

Hard Red Winter (HRW) wheat seeded area is about 30.2 million acres, down 4 percent from 2008. Acreage is below last year=s level in all States in the HRW growing area except Colorado and Texas, where acreage increased 250,000 and 100,000, respectively. The late row crop harvest and lower prices limited planted acres in most parts of the region with planted area down 600,000 acres in Kansas and down 200,000 in Oklahoma. Abandonment of several thousand acres of cotton in Texas allowed for increased winter wheat acres. Colorado producers had good planting conditions along with normal summer fallow rotation allowing for an increase in planted acres over 2008.

Soft Red Winter (SRW) area, at about 8.29 million acres, is down 26 percent from last year. Large acreage decreases from last year occurred in all SRW growing States due largely to the late row crop harvest, high input costs, and the fall in wheat prices. Planted area decreased 350,000 acres or more in Arkansas, Illinois, and Missouri.

White Winter wheat seeded area totals nearly 3.62 million acres, up 1 percent from 2008. Crop conditions varied across the three Pacific Northwest States (Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) throughout the fall. All winter wheat planted area is down 10,000 acres in Washington, down 110,000 acres in Idaho, and unchanged from last year in Oregon. Seeding began ahead of normal in Idaho and Oregon with Washington lagging behind for most of the planting season. By the first week of November, virtually all fields had been seeded in the region, with 71 percent of the acreage emerged in Washington, 73 percent in Idaho, and 40 percent in Oregon.

Durum Wheat: Seedings in Arizona and California for 2009 harvest are estimated at 270,000 acres. This total is down 16 percent from the 2008 level. Planting is ongoing in California's San Joaquin and Imperial Valleys as well as western Arizona. Planted acreage is down 40,000 in Arizona and down 10,000 in California. No major problems with the crop have been reported.



SOURCE: USDA.