all local wheat is grown on Klamath Project lands. A load of white
wheat is dropped from a combine owned by Crawford Farms on a field
outside of Tulelake in July 2007.
While some of the country’s larger potato-producing areas are
cutting back on production to catch up with today’s big grain cash
crops, Klamath Basin growers likely won’t follow suit, said Klamath
Basin Research and Extension Center Crops Agent Brian Charlton.
didn’t loose potato acres at the expense of grain,” he said.
2004, Klamath Basin potato acreage declined about 15 percent, said
Dan Chen, a Merrill potato grower. But that decline is because of a
marketing technique used by the United Potato Growers, not because
farmers are plowing fields under to grow wheat and other high-end
strategy is to match consumer demand and not glut the market, which
deflated potato prices in the past. Charlton said this strategy
seems to be paying off for the Basin producers, and the local potato
market is pretty sound these days.
years ago, the Klamath Basin had 30,000 acres in potato production
and 250 growers. Now growers number fewer than 100, and there are
only about 16,000 acres of spuds on both sides of the border.
we’re going to see our potato acres stay
relatively stable,” Charlton said.
In 2007, potatoes brought in $16.5 million in gross sales and
made up 6 percent of all agriculture commodities in Klamath County.
The Klamath Basin has a well-established hay market and with high
sale prices, growers have relatively little incentive to plow under
perennial hay crops for wheat and other annual grains, Charlton
The OSU Extension Economic Information Office reported alfalfa
hay bringing in $43 million and other gross receipts for hay and
silage were $18.9 million in 2007. All hays make up 20 percent of
the county’s agriculture commodities.
In 2007, small grains, which include wheat and barley, made up 3
percent of all agricultural sales at $7.5 million.
In March, agronomist Rich Roseburg estimated that wheat made up
the majority, between two-thirds or three-fourths, of small grain
production in the Basin.
Almost all wheat is grown on the Klamath Project lands, Roseburg
On the Oregon side, between 6,000 and 10,000 acres of wheat are
grown, while the California side raises about 16,000 acres of the