Wheat harvest starts, yields could be record-setting

Published: Aug. 15, 2018 at 5:41 PM CDT
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The wheat harvest has started and it could be a record year for North Dakota farmers.

Rain in June, the heat in July and warm weather recently are contributing to a great yield. It's allowing farmers to get out into the fields and start harvesting the more than 7 million acres of wheat planted this spring.

Dennis and Lance Renner have been out in the fields combining wheat since the end of last week, and they're excited about how it's turning out.

“I'm really happy with what the crop is right now,” Lance said.

Cooperative weather throughout much of the summer is giving farmers hope for this year's harvest.

“Right now the USDA is forecasting a record yield for spring wheat in North Dakota,” said Jim Peterson, North Dakota Wheat Commission. “We'll see if that holds up, you know there's certainly producers who are getting better than expected yields but then you've got to balance that with producers that are a bit lower than expected.”

Peterson says there's a little bit of variability on yields depending on where you are, and if you were hit by the spotty rain storms in June and early July.

“It's probably maybe a bit lower than farmers were hoping for mid-July,” Peterson said.

Renner says one of his fields suffered from some hail damage, but this one just south of Mandan isn't disappointing.

“It's nice and tall, big kernels, nice bright kernels,” Lance said. “The quality is good, it's been yielding pretty good I think it's up 50-55 bushels to the acre so it's turned out real good.”

Renner says last summer, his yields were about 30 bushels an acre.

As for the markets, Peterson says there's been a price rebound since June, and he says weather issues in Russia and Europe are making the overall markets trend upwards.