More wheat harvested locally this year

Democrat photo / David A. Wilson
The combine is emptied into a grain truck for transport of the wheat for storage or sale. According to MFA Agri Business, this years wheat crop is raning from 50 to 60 bushels per acre. One wheat grower commented it was his best harvest with more than 70 bushels per acre.

Democrat photo / David A. Wilson The combine is emptied into a grain truck for transport of the wheat for storage or sale. According to MFA Agri Business, this years wheat crop is raning from 50 to 60 bushels per acre. One wheat grower commented it was his best harvest with more than 70 bushels per acre. Photo by David Wilson.

By DAVID A. WILSON

Democrat Staff

Local climate or weather is often a reason to plant wheat, since wheat is more of a dry-weather crop than the corn and soybeans commonly grown in central Missouri.

Last fall, more wheat was planted in the area than usual. The severe drought conditions meant that not much would grow in the first place and something was needed. A lot of the corn was so poor last year, it was cut for silage. The wheat was planted so there would be some ground cover to prevent winter erosion.

Wheat was the obvious answer since it provides ground cover with little moisture. In addition, it can be plowed under or burned off before the usual planting time for other crops.

As it turned out, though, heavy spring rains made the wheat crop very good. In fact it was good enough that at least some of the planned cover crop was harvested instead of basically being used as green manure.

According to Daniel Fosnow of MFA Agri Services, the wheat brought in so far has ranged between 50 and 60 bushels per acre. He said the driest has had a 10 percent moisture content. Normally it runs 12.5 to 13 percent.

In addition to recent rainfall, moisture levels in wheat often may depend on what time of day it was harvested. According to Evan Knipp, combining wheat after 11 a.m. allows the sun to dry out the wheat heads after they have drawn moisture from night and morning dewfall.

The price at press time is $6.40 a bushel, slightly better than last year.

Even though the wheat was looking good, some of it was killed so other crops could be planted. It was largely a decision made by the individual landowner as to whether to go with the wheat or to try to get the other planned crop in as close to schedule as possible.

Most of the wheat grown in Missouri is soft red winter wheat, because of the humidity levels. It mills to a flour best used for cakes, cookies, crackers and pastries.

Other areas grow hard red winter and spring wheat. The flour from those are primarily used for bread. Durum wheat, the hardest of all wheat kernels, is high in protein and is not suitable for bread or pastries. It is used mainly for pastas, such as spaghetti and macaroni.

It is also not grown in this area.

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