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Winter Wheat Yields Surprising Producers

Winter Wheat Yields Surprising Producers

This year’s winter wheat crop has been a marathon, with what has seemed one production problem after the other, mostly weather related.  Dan Weathington, Executive Director of the North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association says for all the trials and tribulations, here at the end, things are progressing nicely:

“I don’t think anyone is as surprised as me as how fast we are getting the crop out. The weather has worked with us well.”

And yields have been surprisingly high says Weathington:

“I think everyone has been surprised by the yields this year. I think state wide we should average 60-65 bushels per acre. In some areas there was some freeze damage that will yield about 30 bushels, but down the road there are some 75 bushels. I have heard some 85-90 acre wheat as well.”

Those high yields are increasing the calls to Weathington to certify acres:

“I don’t know of any year that I’ve had so many calls for certification of a plot for yield for the wheat contest. Normally I get 3-4 and I’ve had 8-10.”

What’s usually a problem with winter wheat in the Carolinas is scab, and it was eerily absent this year says Weathington:

“They did find some in a few small areas, but we did not have a general problem and that’s a big plus.”

Weathington says the low price most producers contracted for is a bit discouraging, but he feels the good yields will put about the same number of acres back into the ground in the fall:

“We are coming off good yields so I think this fall we will be about the 800,000 level. We have a feed market and all of our wheat can be moved and the market is good.”

Weathington says he’s crossing his fingers that the good yields continue:

“Normally in a five year circle we will have two great years, one bad and two in between, but we have had four years of pretty good crops.”'

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.