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Wheat Worries Part 1 & 2

by Bob Larson, May 20, 2022

The difference between club wheat, on the left, and soft white wheat, is easily seen.  Consultant Art Bettge says it's harder to tell their flours apart, 'but if you were to bake cookies using the same recipe, you would for sure be able to tell a difference. From the Ag Information Network, I'm Bob Larson. As wheat season approaches a year after severe drought really hit growers hard, worries and challenges still exist.

Michelle Hennings, Executive Director of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, says the weather is better than last year but we're not out of the woods yet. . .

HENNINGS . . . "I know that, you know, when we talk about the percentage of good, fair, bad, we're right in the fair and good percentages. We don't have a lot in the bad yet. So if, hopefully, we get more moisture to help this wheat along as it grows, otherwise we probably could see some potential negative impacts again."

But still, Hennings says a LITTLE sunshine would be nice . . .

HENNINGS . . . "Yeah, we all want to see sun, but I always say, we can't complain about the moisture. We definitely need. We need it for pastures, we need it for the wheat, we need it for everything, especially in Eastern Washington."

Hennings says, yeah, weather is the constant question mark . . .

HENNINGS . . . "And that's why we advocate so much for crop insurance and this is a prime example of farmers need that program if, for instance, we have a major drought like we did last year. That's what can protect farmers and keep them in business moving on to the next year. So, it's a vital program that we advocate as our number one priority in the Farm Bill."

Washington Association of Wheat Growers, Michelle Hennings says another major challenge is the rising cost of shipping . . .

HENNINGS . . . "Transportation costs are up, you know, with the railroads. There's some issues there on being able to even get products, our inputs to the farmers. So, there's a lot of different variables going on right now that the farmers are very concerned about."

Another transportation issue, Hennings says is the push for removal of Snake River dams . . .

HENNINGS . . . "Also, when we use barging, which is 60% of Washington wheat goes up the river, it's the cleanest transportation there is. Washington state is very focused on being clean and climate-friendly and barging is how you do that."

Hennings says there are other, better ways to protect salmon . . .

HENNINGS . . . "There's a lot of different projects out there that could be funded and we're looking into all of those. And there's some that have already been tried to be funded so we've been promoting those projects to get off the ground so that we could start that process towards salmon recovery without having to remove the dams."

Hennings says another big challenge for wheat growers this year is the potential impacts the war in Ukraine could have on the global wheat market.

Bob Larson
Wheat Worries Part 1 & 2 <-- Listen at Original site., May 20, 2022

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