Edward Twidwell, Blanchard, Tobie M. | 4/19/2005 10:29:03 PM
"The last month or so has been relatively dry, which is very good for wheat," said Dr. Ed Twidwell, a wheat specialist with the LSU AgCenter. "It allowed the crop to mature, and heading into the harvest the crop looks outstanding."
The state’s farmers planted at an optimum time, and diseases were not a big problem, but there were occurrences of rust, Twidwell said.
"The night-time temperatures stayed low, and stripe rust tended to stay around," Twidwell said. "But overall the wheat crop came through pretty well."
The weather cooperated for most of the season, but Twidwell is worried about recent heavy rains and the forecast for mid-May.
"If producers aren’t able to get in and harvest the wheat on time, and it just sits there, it’ll start deteriorating in the fields," Twidwell said as the rains came this week (May 12).
The harvest does not last long. Most wheat producers began harvesting this week, and the producers are anxious to wrap up the harvest by the end of the month.
"Most of these producers, what they’re going to do is once they take the wheat off, they are going to double-crop with soybeans," said Twidwell. "So they are trying to get that wheat off as fast as they can."
Producers usually average around 40 bushels of wheat per acre, but Twidwell expects yields to be higher this year.
"Just looking at some of the fields, I would guess that our yields are going to be around 45 bushels per acre – with some producers having even higher yields than that."
Prices had been up to around $4 a bushel, but dropped to $3.60 during the season. Now the price per bushel is up slightly from that mark to $3.70.
"A producer should be able to make pretty good money with the wheat crop this year," Twidwell said. "When the price is above $3 per bushel, we can expect to make some money off of it."
Most of the wheat in Louisiana can be found in Pointe Coupee, Richland, Morehouse and Madison parishes.