Less wheat in the fields

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

TUCKERMAN, AR (KAIT) - Less wheat is being planted as a result of a few bad years.  A late freeze, flooded fields, and a really wet year are some of the reasons.

"We've never considered not planting wheat," said Tommy Young.

While the Young family has around 2,000 acres of wheat planted in Jackson County there are many other farmers who did not plant any at all!

"Last year was wet all year long and the wet weather just extended into the fall and made it basically impossible for many of our growers to plant wheat," said Randy Chlapecka.

Jackson County Extension Agent Randy Chlapecka said he's noticed a big difference in the number of farmers planting wheat!

"A few of our farmers got some wheat planted in November," said Chlapecka.

But not very many farmers decided to put wheat into their fields.

"We probably only have 5,000 acres planted in Jackson County this year where in previous years it was not uncommon for us to grow 50,000 to 60,000 acres of wheat in Jackson County," said Chlapecka.

He said it is part weather and part economics.

"The input prices are fairly high and the wheat prices are not that high so it makes it not a good economical choice," said Chlapecka.

Some farmers don't agree.

"Wheat for us is a rotational crop that we feel goes hand in hand with other crops that we produce," said Young.

Tommy Young and his nephews Blake and Jim plant corn, wheat, and soybeans on the same field.   They use no-till soil conservation so nutrients from the previous crop are left behind for the next.

"We plant the wheat for the straw that it produces in the spring it enables us to plant our soybeans quicker," said Young.

Those not planting wheat can get their other crops in the ground more quickly, planting primarily soybeans.

"They can plant their soybeans in a more timely manner and probably make a better yield on their soybeans," said Chlapecka.

While they had a bad year last year, young says they've got high hopes for this year's yield.

"We try to grow high quality, high yielding wheat and typically that's what we produce.  This year we have a very good potential of growing some high quality wheat," said Young.

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