Harvested cropland declined by 2 million acres in 2018, coinciding with a rise in crop failure

This chart shows the major uses of U.S. cropland, from 1950 to 2018.

The ERS Major Land Uses series defines “cropland used for crops” as comprising three types: cropland harvested, crop failure, and cultivated summer fallow. In 2018, cropland harvested declined to 312 million acres—the lowest recorded harvested cropland area since 2013 (311 million acres) and 2 million acres less than in 2017. A 2-million-acre increase in crop failure due to drought conditions in several crop-producing areas contributed to the 2018 decline in cropland harvested. Land used for cultivated summer fallow, which primarily occurs as part of wheat rotations in the semi-arid West, also increased by 1 million acres to 16 million acres, continuing the reversal, which began in 2017, of a long-term decline in this category. The area that was double-cropped (i.e., two or more crops harvested) held constant over the previous year at about 6 million acres. This chart uses historical data from the ERS data product Major Land Uses, recently updated to include new 2018 estimates and revised 2017 estimates.

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