Wheat harvest is bringing pleasant surprises to many producers

SALEM, Ohio — The wet weather hit farmers hard this spring and many assumed the toll would be taken on the wheat crop. So far, however, luck has held out and the harvest is not as bad as once predicted.

Many are reporting lower yields as a whole, but some farmers expected to find large amounts of vomitoxin or even head scab in their wheat after it was harvested, and that hasn’t been the case.

Some damage

Jenifer Weaver, Deerfield Farms grain department manager, said they have had some damaged wheat arrive by trucks. This has included a small amount of head scab, vomitoxin and frost damage.

“The wet spring affected yields more than anything else,” said Weaver.

Weaver added that the most vomitoxin is coming from the southern territory they cover which would be Portage, Stark and Columbiana counties.

Not as much as been found in Trumbull and Ashtabula counties, but farmers tin those counties haven’t gotten as much harvested than the south.

Vomitoxin

Jeff Simmons, owner of Simmons Grain in Salem, said they are seeing a lot less vomitoxin and head scab than first expected.

“Don’t get me wrong, there is some out there, but not as much as everyone thought,” Simmons said.

Simmons also said that yields are varying with what type of field the wheat was grown in. He said if the field was low-lying or had inadequate drainage, then the crop was drowned and didn’t produce high yields.

On the other hand, if the field was on a hilltop, the yields are doing well.

“It’s just a wide range of yields this year. The quality is much better than expected,” said Simmons.

He added prices are holding steady, which is also good for the farmers. A lot of buyers want the new crop, which is helping prices stay high.

“For a producer with unsold wheat, this is a good thing,” said Simmons.

Little damage

Ralph Wince, grain merchandiser for Agland Co-Op, showed the same surprise about the amount of vomitoxin, headscab and damage found in the wheat crop.

He said flour mills have a limit of 2 parts per million for vomitoxin and, so far, the truckloads have had less than that amount.

Wince said the highest level they’ve detected was 1.6 parts per million, which is in the allowable range.

“We thought there would be some issues, but there just aren’t” said Wince.

Producer

Bill Hoffman, owner of Hoffman Farms, in Circleville, said he is completely done with his harvest.

He had over 350 acres in wheat, and described the crop as being “pretty fair.” He found very little vomitoxin and his fields had been sprayed for head scab, so none was found.

Hoffman said he followed behind with a double crop of soybeans in the wheat fields and feels it turned out better than expected.

Harvest completion

While Hoffman may be finished, some elevators the Farm and Dairy talked to didn’t expect the harvest to be completed until the weekend of July 16, if the wet weather stays away.

All of the elevators contacted reported that they are still continuing to do spot checks on truck loads of wheat as they are hauled in to ensure the quality of the grain.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

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