Winter Wheat Crop Short

May 10, 1917

Yield Smaller Than Any Crop Since year 1904.


While Prospects of Winter Wheat are Very Poor, Agricultural Conditions are Favorable – Extent of Plowing and Planting Above the Average Though the Abandonment of Acreage Planted in 1917 was the Heaviest Ever Recorded

In the of a threatened world food shortage the American winter wheat crop shows the lowest condition recorded since 1888, and promises a smaller yield than any other since 1904. Agricultural conditions otherwise are good, the department announced, and it recalled that although the winter wheat crop of 1912 showed an equally discouraging outlook, the total production of crops that year was the greatest on record.

The winter wheat crop forecast today by the Department of Agriculture promises a production of 366,116,000 bushels. Are to be harvested, 27,653,000 acres. Condition was 73.2 per cent of a normal on May 1.

In announcing its figures on a survey as of May 1, the Department issued this statement:

“The condition of winter wheat on May 1 this year, 73.2 was the lowest that it has been on that date since 1888. The abandonment of acreage planted is the heaviest ever recorded, nearly 30 per cent of the acreage wasted. The forecast of production, based upon the condition and the acreage remaining for harvest, 356,000,000 bushels, is the smallest production of winter wheat since 1904. It compares with a production of 482,000,000 last year, 674,000,000 in 1915, and 495,000,000 the average of the preceding five years.

“The heavy abandonment and low condition of the plant was caused primarily by the dry, late fall, unfavorable for seeding, and a resulting feeble plant to enter the winter season. The low vitality of the plant at the beginning of the winter made it unable to withstand adverse condition of whatever nature. The winter was unusually severe, the ground was dry and bare of snow; temperatures were extremely low and high winds prevailed. This situation prevailed in the most important wheat sections of the country, from Indiana to Nebraska, and south to Texas.

“Although prospects for winter wheat are poor, it should be observed that in other respects agricultural conditions are favorable. The extent of plowing and planting done by May 1 was above than average. In 1912 the winter wheat crop fell 4000,000,000 bushels, the lowest since 1904, but withstanding this low production of winter wheat the spring wheat crop and a total production of all crops in that year was the largest on record.”

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