As farmers continue to lay out their plans for Spring planting, we already have the picture for the state's wheat production strategy for 2019. South Dakota's winter wheat crop is a bit smaller than it was a year ago.

The federal Agriculture Department (USDA) says South Dakota farmers last fall planted 800,000 acres of the crop, down 4 percent from 830,000 acres the previous year.

Winter wheat goes dormant over the winter, then begins growing again in the spring and is harvested in the summer.

Nationally, farmers planted 31.3 million acres of winter wheat, down 4 percent and the second-lowest U.S. acreage on record.

Although typically grown as a cash grain, winter wheat can provide most of the cover crop benefits of other cereal crops, as well as a grazing option prior to spring tiller elongation.

Farmers are monitoring input costs more now than ever with very tight margins continuing with commodity prices.

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