2013 Wheat Harvest Gets Underway in Wayne County
Written by Tyler Whaley, Extension Agent Agriculture & Natural Resources
As we enter into the summer months, area farmers are beginning to enter their fields to harvest their wheat crop. In the years past, winter wheat has been viewed simply as a rotational crop, in hopes of preserving soil quality throughout the winter. However, given the current position of the market, wheat has become a crop to assist farmers in generating cash flow to carry them to fall harvest. If the correct management decisions are made, farmers can greatly benefit from having this commodity in their cropping systems.
This year in particular, Wayne County has seen a substantial increase in acreage from previous years. A best guess estimate would be that around 41,000 acres of winter wheat was planted last fall. Overall, most growers have a pretty decent crop; it is just a matter of getting it out of the field and delivered to the grain elevators. It is anticipated that the county will have a wheat yield average of 50 bushels/acre if harvest conditions remain favorable.
However this past week, we have experienced heavy rainfalls throughout the county. Rainfall totals have been estimated from 3 to 6 inches. As a result, grain moisture levels have been reported anywhere from 16 to 22 percent. This has significantly delayed the progress of the wheat harvest. If conditions become more favorable (warmer day/night temperatures along sunny days), farmers will be able to harvest their crop more efficiently and in a timely manner.
In addition, it is critical that they harvest as soon as conditions become favorable so they can plant their second crop, most likely soybeans or grain sorghum. Currently, conditions are ideal for planting due to the elevated soil moisture levels from the recent rainfalls. This will help farmers in achieving proper planting depths as well as meeting germination requirements for healthy seedling emergence. As with any crop, its performance is subject to weather conditions. If farmers experience sufficient rainfalls and the correct amount of growing degree days throughout the growing season, then the chance of producing a quality crop is likely.
Recommendations for the use of chemicals are included in this article as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services does not imply endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service nor discriminated against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact an agent from North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.