Manager’s Article August 29, 2017

FarmThursday August 24 we finally were able to go out in the county and do the Corn Yield Tour. Of course these are not numbers that are written in stone but we have always been close to the National Average in the past. Results are as follows:
Barren 157.7
Benton 162.9
Browning 136.9
Cave 146.8
Denning 161.4
Eastern 161.5
Ewing 145.3
Frankfort 154.3
Goode 117.9
Northern 206.5
Tyrone 162.0
Six Mile 125.1
COUNTY AVERAGE 153.2
Pictured are: (standing) Chelsea Browning, Brad Browning, Tony Lamczyk, Diane Wallace, Bennie Browning, Seth Schlag, Jenny Schlag and Esiah Schlag (front row) Marshall Browning, Kendall Browning, Joe Heard, Michael Browning, and Melissa Lamczyk. Not pictured – Gay Bowlin, Marc Lamczyk, Kenneth Rexing, Nikki Isaacs, Adam Birkner and Clint Brashear.
An odd thing has happened in wheat country — a lot of farmers aren’t planting wheat.
Thanks to a global grain glut that has caused prices and profits to plunge, this year farmers planted the fewest acres of wheat since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began keeping records nearly a century ago.
Instead of planting the crop that gave the wheat belt its identity, many farmers are opting this year for crops that might be less iconic but are suddenly in demand, such as chickpeas and lentils, used in hummus and healthy snacks.
American farmers still plant wheat over a vast landscape that stretches from the southern Plains of Oklahoma and Texas north through Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas as well as dry regions of Washington and Oregon. However, this year’s crop of 45.7 million acres (18.49 million hectares) is the smallest since 1919.
North Dakota harvested wheat acres are down 15 percent, Montana 11 percent and Nebraska 23 percent, to the state’s lowest winter wheat acres on record.
Fewer farmers planted wheat after a 2016 crop that was the least profitable in at least 30 years, said grain market analyst Todd Hultman, of Omaha, Nebraska-based agriculture market data provider DTN.
Many farmers took notice of a surging demand for crops driven by consumer purchases of healthy high-protein food.
“The world wants more protein and wheat is not the high-protein choice and so that’s where your use of those other things come into play and are doing better,” Hultman said. “Up north around North Dakota you will see more alternative things like sunflowers, lentils and chickpeas.”
How long the new trend will continue is unknown. While some farmers will likely switch back to wheat when profitability returns, others may keep planting the alternatives because demand is expected to remain strong, keeping prices at attractive levels.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

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