Wheat yield looking up

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Area wheat farmers are looking at a rare combination: Above-average yields and a robust market.

Monti Vandiver, integrated pest management extension agent for Parmer and Bailey counties, said early indications are of yields as much as double to that of last year.

In Curry County, above-average yields are expected, according to Stan Jones, Curry County ag extension agent.

“Last year, there was hardly any wheat to cut because of the drought. It just droughted out and people plowed it out because there was nothing there.”

Meanwhile, July prices for wheat closed Friday at $5.91 a bushel, according to Peavey grain elevator merchandiser Kevin Adamson. Wheat brought $4.55 a bushel last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“We’ve got higher prices than I can remember in the last 15 to 25 years,” Vandiver said.

Vandiver said an unusually wet spring was the catalyst for this year’s strong crop, plus farmers planted more acres of wheat in anticipation of a better price.

“We’ve got good moisture early and good growing conditions and that’s going to increase the yield on a per-acre basis,” he said.

Adamson said a low wheat supply in the World Stock has driven up the price of the grain. Vandiver said the cost of crops such as corn for use in alternative fuels also contributed to the increased price.