The Agriculture Department has forecast U.S. farmers will harvest a far smaller winter wheat crop this season than a year ago, particularly for the hard red varieties used to bake bread.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Friday that winter wheat production is forecast to be down 10 percent to 1.49 billion bushels amid fewer acres and poorer yields. Production of hard red winter wheat production is down by 23 percent nationwide to 768 million bushels.
Kansas, the nation's biggest wheat producer, mostly raises hard red winter wheat. The state is forecast to harvest 299.7 million bushels. That is down from the 382.2 million bushels cut last year. It is also below the forecast of 313 million bushels estimated by participants in the Kansas wheat quality tour earlier this month.