Though its water-saving qualities make it attractive, California farmers likely won't grow much wheat this fall, as depressed prices encourage them to evaluate other crop options.
This will be the third consecutive year that California wheat acreage is expected to fall below 500,000. Last year, California farmers grew 372,000 acres of winter wheat and 41,000 acres of durum wheat—the lowest in 50 years and a far cry from the million-plus acres farmers grew in the early 1980s.
"Production has been heavily declining," said Claudia Carter, executive director of the California Wheat Commission. "One of the biggest reasons is price, which has been really low, and competitive crops we have out there seem to be more profitable for (farmers)."