Farmers reap high grain prices
Acreage for wheat and barley is up across Oregon, due to a diminished worldwide grain supply.
Increased demand from the biofuels industry has taken much of the corn supply, while weather issues in other parts of the country and the world have reduced the availability of grain.
Grain acreage in the Basin is at about the same levels as last year, but the increase in prices provides a promising outlook to the season as growers begin harvest.
‘A pretty good start’
“We’re off to a pretty good start,” said Chris Kandra, owner of Winema Elevators.
W heat production in Oregon is up 7 to 9 percent depending on variety, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Barley production is expected to be 24 percent above last year’s production.
Prices for grain are up to about $3 or more per bushel and climbing compared to a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Market News Service.
Barley and winter wheat
Basin g ra in g rowers mostly grow winter varieties, from soft white to hard red, along with barley. Kandra said preliminary estimates of yields are better than expected earlier in the year, but are lower compared to last year.
Rob Crawford, a Tulelake-area grower, said the season hasn’t been without its difficulties. A frost in early June affected his wheat fields. A series of storms that passed through the Basin in early July damaged fields in Macdoel, Malin and Poe Valley.
Reason for acreage
Kandra offered his own reasoning for why more acreage wasn’t grown in the Basin this season despite the increase in prices: Most growers had already determined their acreage when the prices began their climb.
“I’m sure people would have planted a little more grain, if they’d know prices would be at historic highs,” he said.