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Historic Rain May Have Helped Winter Wheat

Photograph Courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture

An unintended consequence of September’s flooding could be an above average winter wheat crop.

The record moisture recharged the soil deep underground just as 2014's winter wheat was planted. Glenda Mostek, a spokesperson for industry trade group Colorado Wheat says these are the best conditions they’ve seen for winter wheat in years.

“The reason for the increase in acres is actually because so much of the winter wheat crop failed last year," Mostek said.

"And since those acres failed early in the summer they could actually be replanted this fall since the crop wasn’t there taking moisture out last summer. So that's the reason for the tremendous increase that we think we're going to see in acres," Mostek added.

"Eighty percent of Colorado's wheat is exported, because we sit at kind of a junction where it's easy to export..."

She says the moisture still hasn’t brought Colorado out of drought conditions.

Winter wheat is primarily used for making bread but can also be used in the production of all purpose flour.

Since wheat is a commodity crop the abundance of acres planted in the state won’t mean lower bread prices at the grocery store, but it will have a positive effect on Colorado’s local agricultural communities when the winter wheat is harvested next summer.

Mostek says the economic impact of a big harvest could be widespread, since most of Colorado's wheat is exported.

"Eighty percent of Colorado's wheat is exported, because we sit at kind of a junction where it's easy to export wheat to the south where it goes to the port of Houston, or to the north where it would go to the ports at Portland. So it does have a big economic impact that way since so much of it is exported out of the United States," Mostek said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release a report with official numbers of acres planted in January.

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