Colorado’s record winter wheat production
USDA announced that Colorado winter wheat production broke a record in 2010, with an average yield of 45 bushels per acre. This is the highest ever yield per acre for Colorado and raises the total production in 2010 to 103.5 million bushels. The 10-year average for winter wheat production is 63.3 million bushels, or 30 bushels per acre.
This is the largest winter wheat crop harvested in Colorado since 1985, when 134.5 million bushels were harvested. The following year, a large percentage of land was taken out of production and put into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). In 1985, there were 3.7 million acres planted and 3.45 million acres harvested. This year, 2.45 million acres were planted and 2.3 million acres were harvested.
This is good news for Colorado’s diverse economy. Colorado wheat producers have more wheat to sell, and if they stored wheat after harvest and sold it recently, they received a higher price because of price spikes caused by news of a Russian drought and ban on wheat exports and projections for lower U.S. and world wheat ending stocks.
Darrell Hanavan, executive director of the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee (CWAC), said ideal weather, better farming practices and improved varieties contributed to this tremendous yield. “We had the same average yield per acre as Kansas,” he said, “Usually they beat us by five bushels per acre.”
In addition to timely rains and good conditions through the growing season, Dan Anderson, a wheat farmer from Haxtun and president of the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee (CWAC), credits the Colorado State University (CSU) wheat breeding program for developing varieties tailored to growing conditions in Colorado.
CWAC is providing $392,000 in research funding annually to CSU for development of new wheat varieties and wheat research. CWAC is the producer-elected Board of Control for the Colorado Wheat Marketing Order whose purpose is to decide how assessment funds are to be spent for research, promotion and education activities.