Farmers will be paid $1.74 billion in crop support payments for this year's wheat, oat and barley crops with the lion's share - $1.7 billion - going to wheat growers, the government reported.

This year's wheat crop of 2.74 billion bushels was the third largest on record and has contributed to a slump in market prices. The barley crop totaled 419 million bushels, up slightly from last year, while the oat harvest, at 358 million bushels, was down slightly.The Agriculture Department said the payments, which will be made in cash, would cover the subsidies due for low prices and payments due under the so-called Zero-92 program. In it, farmers who idle all of the land normally devoted to a specific crop are guaranteed 92 percent of their projected subsidy payment.

Wheat growers will receive subsidies calculated at the rate of 92 cents per bushel - the amount due after subtracting advance payments made months ago and an additional reduction required by balanced-budget law from the five-month average price of $2.72 a bushel.

For barley, the payment rate is 11.6 cents a bushel and for oats, 31.8 cents a bushel.

In all, barley farmers will receive about $35 million and oat farmers $8 million.

Additional payments will be made next summer if market prices are particularly low.

Producers who enrolled in the Zero-92 program were guaranteed a minimum payment rate of 90 cents a bushel on wheat and 26 cents a bushel for barley. There was no guaranteed payment for oats.