Colorado Breaks Record for Yield per Acre in Winter Wheat Production

Colorado Breaks Record for Yield per Acre in Winter Wheat Production


October 5, 2016, Fort Collins, Colo. – USDA announced September 30, 2016 that Colorado winter wheat production broke a record in 2016, with an average yield of 48 bushels per acre. This is the highest ever yield per acre for Colorado and raises the total production in 2016 to 105.12 million bushels. The 10-year average for winter wheat production is 78.2 million bushels, or 35.8 bushels per acre.


This is the largest winter wheat crop harvested in Colorado since 2010, when 105.75 million bushels were harvested. After a record crop in 1985 which produced 134.5 million bushels were harvested, 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, 2.35 million acres were planted and 2.19 million acres were harvested.


Kim Warner, executive director of the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee (CWAC), said good growing conditions, improved farming practices and advanced wheat varieties contributed to this tremendous yield. “The record breaking yield per acre indicates our farmers doing more with their acreage to maximize yield,” she said, “despite the second consecutive year of heavy stripe rust and other pest and disease pressure.”


In addition to timely rains and good conditions through the growing season, Mark Linnebur, a wheat farmer from Byers and president of CWAC, credits the Colorado State University (CSU) wheat breeding program for developing varieties tailored to growing conditions to the high plains, specifically Colorado.


“With over 70% of the Colorado wheat acres planted to CSU/Colorado Wheat Research Foundation (CWRF) varieties, it definitely shows the excellent yield potential and quality that we are receiving from the wheat breeding and wheat-related research programs at CSU. This relationship has produced the best varieties for our growing conditions and the breeding pipeline is full of the next generation of wheat varieties that will only continue to enhance our bottom line as producers,” Linnebur said.


CWAC is providing over $800,000 in research funding annually to CSU for development of new wheat varieties and wheat-related research.  CWAC is the commissioner appointed 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


Winter Wheat, Colorado, 2006-2016
Year Acres Planted Acres Harvested Yield Per Harvested Acre (Bushels) Production (Bushels)
2006             2,150,000             1,900,000 21.0           39,900,000
2007             2,500,000             2,350,000 39.0           91,650,000
2008             2,150,000             1,900,000 30.0           57,000,000
2009             2,600,000             2,450,000 40.0           98,000,000
2010             2,450,000             2,350,000 43.0         105,750,000
2011             2,300,000             2,000,000 39.0           78,000,000
2012             2,350,000             2,170,000 34.0           73,780,000
2013             2,300,000             1,630,000 25.0           40,750,000
2014             2,750,000             2,350,000 38.0           89,300,000
2015             2,450,000             2,190,000 37.0           81,030,000
2016             2,350,000             2,190,000 48.0         105,120,000
2006-16 (Avg.)             2,395,455             2,134,545 35.8           78,207,273
2017 (est.)             2,250,000             2,090,000 37.0           77,330,000
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