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USDA Raises US Wheat Production Estimate as Yields Improve

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A big increase in forecast US wheat production comes as welcome relief for grain importing countries that have been squeezed by tight global wheat supplies as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war and heat-stricken crops in Europe. 

The USDA in its July WASDE report estimated that the total US wheat harvest would increase 8.2% from last year to 48.5 million tonnes (1.78 billion bushels), due mostly to better yields for the current spring wheat crop. The new forecast for total wheat production represents a 2.5% increase from the agency’s estimate last month. 

It was the USDA’s first estimate for spring, durum, and white wheat, and it exceeded market expectations. The positive spring wheat outlook comes on the heels of farmers harvesting the smallest hard red winter wheat crop in 40 years, which typically makes up 40% of the total wheat crop. 

Growing conditions for the spring wheat crop are vastly improved from last year, when drought gripped the northern Plains. Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator for Agriculture, weighted to US spring wheat planted area, shows a big drop in the Gro Drought Index compared with a year earlier, as well as major improvements in Gro’s vegetative health index and soil moisture levels. 

View a Navigator display for US spring wheat here or schedule a demo with our sales team here to learn how Climate Risk Navigator can be tailored to your organization’s needs.

The Gro Drought Index for US acres planted to spring wheat is sharply improved this year (blue line) compared with last year’s severe drought readings, as shown in this display from Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator for Agriculture.

The USDA also raised its forecast from last month for US wheat exports by 3.2% to 21.8 million tonnes, as a recent decline in US wheat prices makes exports more competitive in international markets. However, that advantage could be partly offset by the sharp rise in the US dollar, as Gro wrote about here

View a display comparing free-on-board wheat prices for a host of global shipping centers here

The USDA slightly lowered its estimate from last month for worldwide wheat production, which is now projected to decline by 1% from last year to 771.6 million tonnes. The decline comes amid smaller expected crops in the EU, which has been battered by heat waves, and in Ukraine and Argentina

Canada’s wheat harvest is forecast to jump 57% compared with last year. Similar to the US, Canadian wheat-planted areas are benefiting from greatly improved growing conditions, as shown in this display from Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator. And Gro’s Canada Spring Wheat Yield Forecast Model, which can be viewed in the Gro Portal here, predicts yields will increase sharply from last year’s drought-hit levels. 

The USDA cut its Ukraine production forecast. But it raised its estimate for Russian production, putting it in line with Gro’s Russia Winter Wheat Yield Forecast Model, which can be viewed in this Gro Portal display

Overall global wheat consumption for 2022/23 was lowered by 1.8 million tons to 784.2 million, primarily on reduced feed and residual use in the EU and Ukraine. 

Additional Resources: 

Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator for Agriculture displays key measures of growing conditions and can be weighted to highlight specific crops. See a Navigator display for the US spring wheat crop here

Gro yield forecast models cover more than half of the world’s wheat production. Among these are yield models for wheat crops in the US, Canada, the Black Sea region (Russia and Ukraine), Australia, and India.  

Related Insights: 

EU’s Wheat Crops at Risk From Record Heat, Gro Indices Show

Improved Russian Wheat Outlook Could Boost Exports

Global Wheat Supplies Face New Threats as Drought Levels Rise, Gro’s Model Shows


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