Wheat growers are praising Agriculture Secretary Richard E. Lyng for holding the line in a struggle with administration budget officials over the 1988 farm program.

Under the program, there will be a 27.5 percent acreage reduction for farmers participating, the same as the 1987 level.

Administration budget officials had sought a program in which growers would be required to take 30 percent of their total acreage out of production in return for subsidy payments.

Shortly after the plan was announced Thursday, National Association of Wheat Growers President Jim Miller praised Lyng for fighting what would have been a 2.5 percentage point increase.

The 27.5 percent level will "help U.S. growers meet foreign competition and regain some of our lost markets," Miller said.

He blamed infighting between the Agriculture Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget for a one-month delay in announcing the program.

"The difference between our position and that of the budget office . . . may not seem like much," he said. "But that 2.5 percent represents a statement that U.S. farmers will not unilaterally lower our wheat production. This should serve as a deterrent to any plans by our competitors to increase their output and go after our markets."

The 2.5 percent also represents an additional $200 million in payments that would be available to wheat growers next year, he said.

As announced by Lyng, the rate for Commodity Credit Corp. price-support loans will drop 5 percent from $2.28 a bushel to $2.17.