Kentucky farmers harvested 32.7 million bushels of winter wheat in the summer of 2008, according to the Kentucky Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

This was up 167 percent from the freeze reduced crop of 2007 and the largest wheat crop on record. The previous high was 28.6 million bushels produced in 1981.

The large 2008 crop resulted from an increased harvested acreage and very good yield per acre. Moisture and temperatures this spring were favorable for good crop development and grain fill. Insect and disease problems were light. Weather conditions during harvesting were favorable.

Farmers harvested 460,000 acres for grain. This was up 210,000 acres from the 2007 freeze damaged crop.

Yield was estimated at 71 bushels per acre, up 22 bushels from the 2007 crop and equal to the record high yield of 2006.

Farmers seeded 580,000 acres in the fall of 2007, up 140,000 acres from the previous year. The 120,000 acres not harvested for grain were plowed down for a cover crop prior to setting tobacco, cut as grain hay, chopped as grain silage or abandoned.

Production of all wheat for the U.S. totaled 2.50 billion bushels in 2008, up 2 percent from the August forecast and up 21 percent from 2007. Grain area was 55.7 million acres, up 9 percent from last year. The yield was 44.9 bushels per acre, up 1.4 bushel from the last forecast and up 4.4 bushels from last year.

Kentucky barley production totaled 616,000 bushels, an increase of 511,000 bushels from the freeze reduced 2007 crop. The increase was due to a larger harvested acreage and increased yield per acre.

Yield was estimated at 88 bushels, up 53 bushels from the 2007 crop and equal to the record high of 2006. Acreage for grain at 7,000 acres was up 4,000 from the previous year. Acreage seeded totaled 8,000 acres. This enabled farmers to use 1,000 acres for other purposes.