Area farmers plant less wheat, crop prices seesaw
Although farmers sowed fewer acres than the previous year to wheat this past fall, they harvested more bushels this year.
According to the Farm Service Agency in Marion, county farmers sowed 15,972 less acres in wheat than the year before. They planted 105,282 acres in 2017 compared to 90,310 acres last fall.
Cash wheat prices have been fluctuating. The price was $4.35 a bushel on June 25 and had dropped to $3.98 on July 2 in Marion and Hillsboro.
Prices rose again after that and on Thursday took a jump of 20 cents after a report came out that there was less worldwide carry-over of wheat than previously thought, grain coordinator Dick Tippin of Hillsboro Cooperative Grain and Supply said. Weather was a factor, too.
Friday’s price was $4.32 locally, but the price dropped 18 cents on Monday.
Harvest continues in northern Marion County, and some farmers elsewhere are cleaning up patches of wheat that were left standing because of muddy ground.
Area grain elevator managers all said test weights were good until heavy rain and flooding helped drop them below 60 pounds per bushel. The Marion Cooperative Grain and Supply elevator took in 100,000 bushels more than last year, manager John Ottensmeier said. Test weights trended down when the rains came, he said, ranging from 58 to 54 pounds per bushel.
Cooperative Grain and Supply in Hillsboro took in 30,000 bushels more than last year, according to Tippin.
Harvest in the Tampa area was 90 percent complete Tuesday, according to Agri Trails manager Roger Will.
He said the Tampa elevator has taken in 182,000 more bushels of wheat than a year ago.
“Last year was a bad year, but this year’s crop is average,” he said.
Fifty-bushel yields were common, and farmers were selling some of their wheat.
“People have bills to pay,” Will said.
Lincolnville Agri Trails manager Perry Gutsch said the elevator has taken in a little more wheat than last year as harvest continues. Most grain brought in has been dry.