Wed May 9, 2012

Colorado's Winter Wheat Doing Well Despite Dry Conditions

Despite recent warm and dry weather, Colorado’s winter wheat appears poised for a successful harvest this year.

Glenda Mostek with the Colorado Association of Wheat Farmers says farmers planted 2.4 million acres of wheat across the state last fall.

Winter wheat generates more than $559 million into the state’s economy annually. According to the US Department of Agriculture, 52% of this year’s crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Still, Mostek says more rain could be a plus.

 “Up until harvest I think we’d like to see rain, you know, once a week would be fine with most farmers here. They’d like a nice gentle rain and not hail because hail can take out a wheat crop in no time flat. But as it gets closer to harvest then they’d like to see things dry out and allow the crop to ripen in some nice warm weather."

At this time last year, the USDA ranked only 21% of Colorado’s winter wheat being in good or excellent condition. Mostek says while it has been dry, there’s still been more rain this year than last.

Because of the warm weather, Mostek says the winter wheat crop is a few weeks ahead of schedule. Normally the wheat is harvested near the end of June. But Mostek says this year, the wheat should be ready by the beginning to middle of next month.

The USDA May Crop Progress Report [.pdf]