Wheat Harvest Rookie – Day Two

As I’ve heard countless times from the correspondents this year, it rained last night. Hoffman Harvesting was not able to harvest on Tuesday because of wet conditions. So, after some morning cleaning and maintenance, the crew headed out to Mobridge, S.D., for some fun on the river, while I set  out to talk to a few people about the 2011 wheat harvest.

My first stop was at the North Central Farmers Elevator in Bowdle, S.D., where I met Dora, the office manager. She said the 2011 season has been difficult due to high moisture and heat. From what she is seeing, producers and harvesters are only bringing in two-thirds of the wheat volume they brought to the elevator last year. Jeremy, a grain buyer, said that vomitoxin is making the wheat difficult to market. He estimated that half of the wheat is going into storage and half is being sold now. Last year, he added, high-protein wheat was in short supply; this year, there’s more of it available, so demand has dropped.

I continued on the road to Lebanon, S.D., and met up with Perry Hoffman’s agronomist, Brian. He said that with this year’s difficult season, there is no room for mistakes in the fields. Brian is recommending postharvest herbicide applications to make sure fields are clean next spring.

My final stop of the day was with Northern Plains in Gettysburg, S.D, where I met Kelly, the scale manager. He echoed what Dora, Jeremy and Brian said about the difficult season and said that many of his customers are disappointed with their yields. He calculated that with input costs at roughly $300 per acre, growers need to produce 40-50 bushels per acre wheat to break even. When growers are expecting 60-70 bushels per acre and only getting 35-40 bushels, that makes for a tough season.

Although I wasn’t able to be in the fields harvesting today, I got a different perspective of wheat harvest from several people involved in the wheat industry. Not a bad day at all!

For more information contact crew@allaboardharvest.com. All Aboard 2011 is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.


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