Staff and Wire Reports

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma wheat farmers who held onto their grain -- rather than selling it during the recent harvest -- are benefiting from Russia's ban on grain exports.

Russia's prime minister imposed a ban on all exports of its wheat until Dec. 31 because of severe drought and wildfires that destroyed about 20 percent of the crop. The ban means countries in Africa and the Middle East are now looking elsewhere for wheat.

Oklahoma farmers are now getting from $5.99 to $6.61 per bushel for wheat, which is up about $2 per bushel from earlier this month and compares to as little as $2.88 per bushel during the harvest.

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry spokesman Jack Carson said farmers who were able to sell only enough grain to pay their bills and store the remainder are benefiting.

"There's a lot of farmers that stored their wheat, sold just enough of it to meet their expenses and stored the rest. They are what you say in the driver's seat," said longtime farmer Curtis Roberts. "I've still got some wheat. We go ahead and sell it and make a difference on it."

A difference agricultural expert Ron Hayes said was unexpected.

"The farmers that got some wheat left, they are selling into this rally and they are making some good money off this year's crop that they didn't think they were going to make just a couple months ago," Hayes said.

Roberts said the extra $2 a bushel will equal several extra thousand dollars for him.