Wheat Gives Way to Row Crops in South Dakota


The 2017 spring and winter wheat crop in South Dakota fell to just over 2 million acres, one of the smallest wheat crops since the 1800s.  Then, as early as 1900, wheat acres rose to more than 4 million acres. Now, 100 years later, lower prices and profitability for wheat compared to corn and soybeans  have convinced farmers to plant less wheat.

Wheat is now planted more for the agronomic value in a rotation between corn and soybean rather than for the cash grain value, says Reid Christopherson, executive director of the South Dakota Wheat Commission.

For many South Dakota farmers, it is all corn and soybeans. They only planted 950,000 acres of winter wheat in 2016. Harvested acres in 2017 were even less at about 650,000 acres, more than 40 percent less than the 2016 harvest, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 2017,  soybean farmers planted a record  5.4 million acres, double what was planted 22 years ago. South Dakota’s farmers planted 5.2 million acres of corn this year, down from the record 6.2 million acres planted in 2013.


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