Winter Wheat Field Days Well Attended


Winter wheat has had its challenges in the southeast this year, yet field days have been well attended says Dan Weathington, Executive Director of the NC Small Grain Growers Association of yesterday’s field day in Anson County:

“We wound up with about 147 people, my understanding, at the field day.  the plot looked really good considering the weather, and all that had gone on here, but the wheat really looked perky after about an inch of rain last night and this morning.  We’re glad to have with us Dr. Angela Post, the new small grain systems specialist, she’s getting into the groove, observing, talking to farmers, and trying to help them with their wheat situations.  Of course, we had our variety overview by Dr. Paul Murphy, Carl Crozier was there, and of course, Dr. Ron Heiniger.  He’s always optimistic about all the crops, and I heard him make a statement this morning…’what do you think this wheat will make?’, and when the crowd didn’t say anything, he said ‘it looks like 50 bushel/a wheat, and that’s not good enough!’, ‘we got to have better wheat than that.’ And we may have, since this rain has come.”

Weathington says that across the state, the yield on winter wheat is going to be average, at best:

“This year, our wheat crop has just faced so many weather adversities, especially east of I-95, it’s a little better in the west.  But, we’ve had every disease in the playbook that can happen on wheat.  I don’t think it’s going to be average, but maybe average minus.  Someone asked me to sum it up…’when you go to the grocery store and you buy carrots, then you buy baby carrots, it’s going to be just a little bit better than baby carrots.’ So, it’s going to be a below average yield.”

And Weathington expects harvest to begin sooner than normal, too:

“I’ve already seen some wheat beginning to dry down a little bit, I think there’s going to be some wheat harvested by the 25th of May, and ordinarily we try to get started by the first of June.  You know, with the field day…with the rain that came last night…you can spend all kind of money, but the bottom line on field days is weather, weather, weather.  If it’s pretty, and they can’t get in the field, they turn out.  That’s what happened today, the same thing happened up in Elizabeth City for our first field day.”

The final wheat field day this year will be next week in Beaufort County:

“We start at 7:30 with a little light breakfast, registration is during that time, and then we’ll hit the plots about 8, and we should finish the first one and go the second about 9, and we should be leaving the field day about 10 o’clock.  You know, there’s no place in the state, that wheat had more stress and more adversity, more weather and disease than Beaufort County.  Rod Gurganus is still working on putting together something that we feel  like is going to be a teachable, show-and-tell, even though sometimes we have to show and tell some things that aren’t pleasant, but that’s just the way it is.”

Executive Director of the NC Small Grain Growers Association, Dan Weathington.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.