SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota — The federal Agriculture Department is forecasting much smaller winter wheat crops in the Dakotas this year.
The report pegs South Dakota's production at 45.1 million bushels, down 24 percent from last year, and North Dakota's crop at 10.8 million bushels, down 60 percent.
Wider swings in production are common in North Dakota, where winter wheat is not a major crop. In South Dakota, this year's expected production drop is due to an anticipated lower average yield.
Nationally, this year's winter wheat crop is estimated at 1.5 billion bushels, up 9 percent from 2014.