Californians plant 600,000 acres of winter wheat

California farmers are expected to seed 600,000 acres to winter wheat for the 2008 crop, 20 percent above the 2007 crop. Seeding was completed by the end of December in California. The winter wheat crop condition at the end of November was rated at 44 percent good to excellent, compared with 53 percent last year.

The U.S. Winter wheat seeded area for 2008 is expected to total 46.6 million acres, up 4 percent from 2007. Seeding began last August behind the 5-year average pace and remained behind until mid-November due to a lack of moisture in the Great Plains during much of the seeding period.

Nearly all of the U.S. acreage was seeded by Dec. 1 with the exception of some intended acres in the Southeast and California.

Durum wheat seedings in Arizona and California for 2008 harvest are estimated at 280,000 acres. This total is up 70 percent from their 2007 level. Planting is ongoing in California's San Joaquin and Imperial Valleys as well as western Arizona. Planted acreage is up 60,000 acres in Arizona and up 55,000 in California due mostly to good prices. No major problems with the crop have been reported.

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