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Crops

Harvesting grain - 2015 harvest shows top yields

Written by Saige Albert

For the week ending Oct. 11, the Wyoming Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) noted that warm, dry conditions dominated across the state. During the week, 6.6 days were suitable for fieldwork, and harvests continued across the state.

NASS reported that 56 percent of third cutting alfalfa hay had been harvested, and 96 percent of corn for silage had been harvested. Corn for grain was 95 percent dented, 60 percent mature and two percent harvested.

Sugarbeet harvest also continues, with only 22 percent of beets in for the year. Ninety-five percent of dry edible beans were cut, and 82 percent were harvested as of Oct. 11.

Winter wheat was 61 percent emerged.

Barley

“Barley harvest is done,” says Scott Priebe of Wyoming Ag Marketing. “It went well, and yields were good.”

This year, Priebe notes that the wet spring started the crop off well.

“When we start off well, we usually have a good chance of ending well,” he says.

At the same time, prices for barley were good compared to other grain markets, holding steady from 2014.

“There was a lot of sprout damage in 2014 due to the rain that Idaho, Montana and Wyoming received in August,” Priebe explains. “A lot of last year’s crop wasn’t brought into the malt industry.”

He continues, “This year, the industry was looking for a normal crop year and to replenish their supply from the damaged crop.”

The malt industry, he explains, keeps extra barley supply on hand to account for years of smaller yields, but they also work to replenish that supply in surplus years.

“Prices were supported to gain more acres this year,” Priebe says. “The prices did help get more acres planted this year.”

“Other commodities, like corn, soybeans and wheat, trended down 20 to 25 percent from 2014,” he says. “That drove a lot of barley acreage for this year.”

Corn markets

With only two percent of corn harvested thus far, Priebe says Wyoming Ag Marketing are gearing up to start taking corn on Oct. 26.

“Corn markets are really steady, and we are in the middle of the range we have been in for the last few months,” he says.

In the fields he has walked this year, Priebe expects “phenomenal yields.”

This year, spring moisture also helped corn emergence, Priebe says, resulting in faster growth than average years.

“With the spring rain, we saw really even emergence and really good stands,” he continues. “Those who planted higher populations are seeing more plants per acre than we typically see.”

“We are very excited about corn,” he continues. “From taking moisture samples, there will be a lot of corn ready in the next week to 10 days.”

Looking toward next year

Priebe notes that Wyoming Ag Marketing buys wheat, barley and corn. This year, they also did some soybean trials.

“The soybean trials went well and were successful,” he says, noting that growers planted soybeans in Lovell, Thermopolis, Riverton and Casper. “Everything that has been harvested has had great test weight and good yields.”

More information on the soybean trials will be available later this year after harvests are complete.

For barley, wheat and corn, Wyoming Ag Marketing is working on pricing and programs for the 2016 crop year and plans to release that information in the next month, but Priebe notes that barley will likely be down next year, more in line with other grains.

Over the next year, Priebe notes that corn markets will reflect some global trends and production worldwide.

He adds, “The next big report that will be a market mover, particularly for corn, will be the final production report in January.”

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at saige@wylr.net.