According to USDA's Jan. 11 crop production report, winter wheat planted area for 2008 is estimated at 46.6 million acres, up 4 percent from 2007.

Winter wheat plantings, which could be an indicator of where cotton acreage is going in 2008, is up 145,000 acres in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.

Seeding began last August behind the five-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. 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 the previous year.

The soft red winter area, at about 10.5 million acres, is up 21 percent from last year. Large acreage increases from last year occurred in all SRW growing states due largely to strong prices and ideal planting and germination conditions.