The 2013 Small Grain Fields days are almost wrapped up, Dan Weathington, Executive Director of North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association, and Southern Farm Network’s Bob Midles discussed the events recently in Monroe, North Carolina:
“We had very similar testing at all of these locations in varieties and susceptibility to specific diseases, and which one will perform as well as the recommended planting list from the University. All of this gives farmers an opportunity to see these tests in the different wheat growing areas in the state, where we are testing for fungus, scab and how they react to different treatments that the farmers can use. And to help them make more bushels of wheat and have more money in their back pocket.
I think this year’s crop is average and maybe on the plus side. At one time it didn’t look like it was going to be as good as it is, but farmers are managing wheat more closely. Many farmers have sprayed fungicides, used seed treatment and have tried to do things right and choose the varieties that are less susceptible to different insects of diseases. Generally farmers have done a good job and with the large number of acres, about 960,000 acres planted and about 900,000 to be harvested, so at 50 bushels that would be 45 million and if we can get the ten year average of that would 54 million bushels of wheat in NC and would be a really good crop for us. We have the most wheat planted in NC since 1910.
A million acres planted in the state is a good figure, especially with the feed grain initiative that we have in cooperation with Murphy-Brown and NC State. If the grain sorghum behind the wheat continues to do well, we can see higher acreages that we have had in the past. We have been at 650,000-700,000 acres of wheat and this year to grow close to a million acres of wheat, along with last year’s 72,000 acres of grain sorghum, as this continues to be a good thing for farmers, I think our wheat acres could stay up. Its all about feeding livestock. We have a market of that and good strong prices. Farmers will see what wheat followed by grain sorghum is a good match, especially in areas where soybeans are not making over 40 bushels or they have been planting corn on marginal land.”
The final small grain field day will be Tuesday at the USDA/ARS Field Lab in Raleigh, getting underway at 2:00 pm.