A six-percent drop is forecast for winter wheat production in the U.S. this year, according to numbers released last week by USDA.  The monthly Crop Production report forecasts total winter wheat production at 1.19 billion bushels, with yield down over two bushels per acre at 48.1.  Much of the drop is in hard red winter wheat, primarily grown in regions of Kansas and Oklahoma that are dealing with extreme drought conditions.  USDA projects a 14 percent drop in output to just 647 million bushels, while soft red winter wheat is expected to increase six percent to 315 million bushels.  Missouri’s wheat harvest is predicted to result in 2.8 million fewer bushels, at 33.9 million.  530,000 acres are projected for harvest in Missouri, down 10,000, while yield is projected to fall four bushels per acre to 64.

Colder temperatures and dry conditions have left Missouri farmers with barely a third of the hay compared to what they had on hand this time a year ago.  Just 580,000 tons are reported to be on hand as of May 1st, compared to 1.5 million last year.  Missouri started off the winter with 5.1 million, already down 250,000.

The monthly Crop Production report also confirmed the successful harvest cotton growers in the Bootheel enjoyed last year.  Missouri harvested close to 360 million pounds of cotton last year, an increase of 88.4 million.  Yield jumped by 191 pounds per acre to 1,212, while acres harvested increased to 297,000.  Almost 700,000 bales were ginned from Missouri’s harvest.