• Last modified 1560 days ago (March 12, 2020)


Wheat crop greens amid uncertain prices

Staff writer

Although, Winter weather may have slowed crop growth, sections of the county’s wheat are greening up as temperatures warm and soft prices leave some farmers cold.

Lost Springs farmer Monty Stuchlik said he planted the same amount of wheat this year and will rotate the crop with beans and corn.

The two- to three-inch tall stalks are a little behind what they were this time last year. He worries how the crop will tiller out at harvest, but remains optimistic.

“The crop’s stand is good,” he said, “We kind of have to see what Mother Nature brings.”

Eugene Just, of Marion, agrees the dry, cold winter has not been ideal for wheat despite recent mid-60s temperatures that have greened up his fields.

Just also plans to keep wheat in his crop rotation, but continued low prices have him looking at alternatives.

“We’ve gone to milo, more milo than normal,” he said. “The wheat price has been bad and the yield has not been exceptional.”

Andy Kelsey, an agronomist with Cooperative Grain Supply, Marion, said wet fields pushed fall wheat planting well into November, which left him rather dubious about its prospects.

“If you asked me in December I’d say half looked absolutely terrible,” he said. “It’s in really good shape considering how late some of that got put in. Instead of being way behind, it’s in decent shape. I did not have faith in it earlier.”

The weather is still cool for wheat, which is in dormancy until the temperatures warm, said John Ottensmeier, Cooperative Grain Supply manager.

He declined to speculate about eventual wheat prices which stood at $5.465 per bushel on Monday, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Stuchlik said some producers have been discouraged by soft prices caused by an overabundance of grain on the global market.

The worldwide emergency of the COVID-19 epidemic that contributed to a 2,000-point plummet in the DOW Monday is also affecting the commodities market, Just said.

“This virus thing that has played with the stock market plays with wheat prices, too,” Just said. “It isn’t supply and demand.”

Both agree that uncertainty is a given as farm operations are increasingly hit with factors that are out of their hands — everything from the weather to a global pandemic.

“There are so many variables that you don’t have a whit of control over, Stuchlik said. “You gotta stay positive.”

Last modified March 12, 2020