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U.S. farmers cut wheat sowing to lowest since 2010

U.S. wheat sowing for 2016 fell significantly more than analysts expected, dropping by 7% year on year to 36.61 million acres, hitting its lowest point since 2010, according to the latest report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), reports ABC News. In Kansas, the country’s top wheat producing state, farmers planted 8% fewer winter wheat acres, sowing 8.5 million acres, while in Texas sowing fell by 12% at 5.3 million acres, and in Oklahoma sowing fell by 8% to 4.9 million acres, while in both Colorado and Montana sowing fell to 2.25 million acres in both states.

Reasons for the decline were not outlined by NASS, but the industry group, Kansas Wheat, stated that a combination of factors including low prices, and a rainy autumn delaying the previous soybean harvest and therefore delaying wheat planting in double-cropped fields, could be behind the lower acreage.

Another underlying reason for the decline could be high inventories. In a separate report, the USDA states that as of December 1, U.S. wheat in storage totaled 1.74 billion bushels – 14% more than at the same point a year before, while the department forecasts a record global harvest on high output from the EU, Australia, and the Black Sea region, according to Bloomberg.

By variety, NASS estimates that the U.S. will sow 26.5 million acres of hard red winter wheat – a 9% decline year on year, with the largest decline in planting in the Great Plains, including record low sowing in Nebraska. Sowing of other varieties including soft red winter wheat and white winter wheat total 6.72 million acres and 3.43 million acres respectively.

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