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Spring wheat crop could be ‘best ever’

The 2009 hard red spring wheat crop could be the best ever.  

That’s the word from participants in this week’s Wheat Quality Council Tour of North Dakota and adjacent states. Speaking from Grand Forks, North Dakota, council executive director Ben Handcock says yields are estimated in the mid-40’s. 

“For all the wheat-spring wheat and durum and everything-it’s like 44 bushels, something like that,” says Handcock. “It’s just incredibly good-better than it’s been for, maybe, ever.” 

But while it could produce record yields, it might also be the latest crop ever.  Handcock says the normal August harvest may be pushed into September. 

“We’re at least two weeks behind normal and when you talk about harvesting wheat up in North Dakota in September, you’ve got very short days and the combine can get in the field about noon and they’ve got to quit about 6 or 7 o’clock in the evening,” he explains, “so it really shortens the day and that’s the question-can we get it in the bin?” 

Acres planted to spring wheat have been estimated to be down 600-thousand acres this year, but Handcock says nobody really believes that number.  “They don’t think it’s down that much because it got so late to plant all the crops that farmers opted to go with late planted wheat as opposed to late planted soybeans or corn,” Handcock says. “So I think there’s more wheat than they thought there was earlier.  So I don’t think the wheat acres are down that much.” 

The Wheat Quality Council tour wrapped up Thursday afternoon in Fargo.

Ben Handcock (4 min MP3)

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