Wheat Farmers Hope For Dry Weather

Thursday, June 26th 2008, 7:35 pm
By: News 9

Wheat farmers across Oklahoma hope for dry weather so they can finish this year's harvest. This year's crop is one of the best in quite some time. As News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports, it's expected to surpass $1 billion statewide.

After weeks of rain, a dry, 90-plus degree day is just what wheat farmers across Oklahoma hope for. This year's wheat crop looks good, if they can only get it harvested before it rains again.

"It's probably as good a looking year as it could be this year for us," said wheat farmer, David Hermesch.

David Hermesch is a farmer and also harvests for other farmers each year. He says this season many are seeing three times the yield, three times the price. And even with three times the expenses, it should still be a good year.

"The wheat crop in Oklahoma this year is going to be a windfall for the guys," said Hermesch.

The Oklahoma Wheat Commission says 157 million bushels have been produced statewide. That's about 60% over the last three year average.

"We didn't even recoup expenses last year and the year before," said Hermesch.

In fact, the last few years have been some of the worst Hermesch has seen in 30 years of farming. But, 2008 is a nice change for the better with the biggest challenge being finding a place to store the grain because elevators are filling up and high river levels have slowed shipping.

Oklahoma is the second biggest wheat producer in the United States, behind only Kansas. When you talk about a $1 billion wheat harvest, it has a huge effect on the entire state's economy.

Farmers will be able to reduce debt, invest in new equipment and most of all, breathe easier.

"It's going to be a big economic boost for the small towns and they have desperately, desperately needed that. Well, in some places, it's been five or six years," said Hermesch.

Of course, in Oklahoma, weather is always a factor in farming and if we get any more rain it could limit the ability to get combines in the wheat fields and would impact yield. Farmers say for every one to two inches of rain we get from this point on, it will lower yield by 10%.