Investing in Farmland in WY - Small Grain 2018 Update

Posted on: Oct 19, 2018

Owning land is an investment. Part of the investment value, the appreciation, is most often realized at the time of asset transfer or sale. Unlike appreciation, the cash flow component of the investment is realized while the property is owned and operated.


In Wyoming the most common types of operations are oil and gas leases, renewal energy leases, cattle or other livestock grazing, hospitality, hunting and fishing leases, habitat mitigation credit sales, and farming.


The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service releases crop statistics throughout the year. Last month, they released their Small Grains Wyoming Highlights report.  Small grains in the Wyoming report include winter wheat, oat and barely.


Winter wheat

As of Sept 1, winter wheat production was up 33 percent from 2017 coming in at 3.91 million bushels. Producers seeded 130,00 acres in the fall of 2017 to be harvested in 2018, down from 135,000 acres in the previous year. The acres harvested for grain increased to 115,000 in 2018, up 10,000 acres. Part of the reason the production increased was that yield increased 6.0 bushels per acre from the prior year to 34 bushels per acre.


For comparison, yields in neighboring Montana and Colorado in 2018 were 50 and 36 bushels per acre, respectively. 


Nationally, production totaled 1.18 billion bushels, down 7 percent from 2017. Yields across the country decreased on a per acre basis by 2.3 bushels to 47.9 bushels per acre. Record highs were estimated in Louisiana, Montana and Nevada for 2018.



As of Sept 1, producers harvested 9,000 acres for grain or seed, up a substantial 5,000 acres from 2017.  Similarly, production is up considerably, 51 percent from 2017, to 513,000 bushels.  The yields have varied greatly from 2017 to 2018. In 2017, oat yield was 85 bushels per acre and in 2018 it was only 57 bushels per acre.


In Colorado, 7,000 acres of oat were harvested. In Montana, 23,000 acres of oat were harvested. In terms of yield, Colorado yields were similar to Wyoming at 50 bushels per acre. However, in Montana oat yields were lower at 43 bushels per acre.


Nationally, production increased 14 percent from 2017 to 2018 to 56.1 million bushels. Estimated yields were 64.9 bushels per acre, up 3.2 bushels from the previous year.



As of Sept 1, the harvested area of barley was at 50,000 acres, down 13,000 acres from 2017. The seeded area for the year also represented at decrease, down 11,000 from the prior year to 71,000. The yields were fairly similar to the previous year at 100 bushels per are. Production is estimated at 5 million bushels, which is a 22 percent decrease from 2017.


Unlike in Wyoming, national barley production increased from 2018 to 2017 to 153 million bushels, which is an 8 percent increase. The yields nationally were 77.4 bushels per acre on average. The harvested area was very similar to 2017, at 1.98 million acres.


Colorado harvested a similar number of barley acres, harvesting 52,000 acres in 2018, down from 68,000 in 2017. On the other hand, Montana had 600,000 acres harvested in 2018. In terms of production, the yields by state resulted in 7.54 million bushels produced in Colorado and 33.6 million bushels in Montana in 2018.


For a full look at state-by-state comparisons from 2016 to 2017 to 2018 check out the full Small Grains 2018 Summary.


Keeping up with yields and prices is just one way we keep our finger on the pulse of the investment potential of land in Wyoming. Looking for property? Call us!

Post Categories: Industry News


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