The drought has been hard on all producers across the Pacific Northwest, but perhaps one of the commodities where it’s most noticeable is wheat. While many winter wheat growers saw enough precipitation late last year and early this year to have a decent crop, the same cannot be said for spring wheat growers. The latest USDA numbers have less than 10% of the national spring wheat crop rated good to excellent, with nearly 1/3 of the crop rated very poor to poor.

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Casey Chumrau, Executive Director of the Idaho Wheat Commission said coming off of a 2020 where growers enjoyed almost perfect growing conditions makes this year extremely difficult.

“Up in the Palouse, just incredible yields [last year], that same area this year is now in that stage five drought, and as you come further south and further east, really all of it is looking kind of the same type of conditions unless you have irrigation.”

Chumrau said a drought like this shows the importance of the Wheat Commission, as they try to find any way possible to help growers improve their bottom line.

“We’re continuing to do a lot of good research to help find ways to combat droughts in the future, to bring on great varieties that have drought resistance.  We have good educational programs, good market development programs, we continue to work very hard with our overseas customers to make sure they know exactly what kind of crop is coming, and what adjustments they can make so they will still look to the U.S. to purchase our wheat.”

While yields aren’t great, and there are no sustained rainy patterns on the horizon, Chumrau said farmers remain farmers.

“The overall sentiment is not great, but they are farmers so they are obviously thinking next year is going to be better.”




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