In the 2012-13 growing season, hard red winter wheat prices were so high, every square inch of land available to plant wheat was utilized. Executive Director of the North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association says even with good planting weather the last six weeks or so, not quite as many acres have been planted this year:
“I do an ad hoc survey the week before Thanksgiving in the ten largest wheat areas in the state. I asked them to give me an idea where their acreage was flat, minus or plus compared to last year. No one said it was more than last year, most said it was flat or maybe 10% less. So based on that, having 960,000 acres planted last year, I think we are in the 800-850,000 acres planted.”
Weathington says rains have been timely and the stands are good:
“We had good stands to emerge. I think most everyone got rain. I don’t think anything was badly suffering. We have adequate moisture across the state. We need this cold weather; once we get it up we need the cold to make sure it doesn’t grow too fast. I think we are where we need to be as far as the size and growth of wheat.”
While prices aren’t quite as good this year as they were last, they’re still very high…Weathington explains that while the 2013-14 acres are down, they’re still well above the 10-year average:
“The ten year plantings of wheat in NC are over 700,000 acres. Last year was an exceptional year with price as the driver. I don’t think we are going backwards. Our planting this year is well above the ten year average.”
Dan Weathington, executive Director of the North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association.