Amid the dog days of August, corn is being harvested and wheat seed is increasingly hard to find. Reached by Delta Farm Press this week, Jason Kelley, Arkansas Extension corn and wheat specialist, had the following comments:
On wheat seed availability…
“Right now, it’s a free-for-all. Everyone is looking, everybody is scrounging, and everyone who ordered some needs more.
“I think the amount of seed that’s available will limit the number of acres we plant. Every so often, there are claims that a hot crop is going to be short of seed. Then, seed — but maybe not the most desired varieties — will show up.
“This time, though, the wheat seed shortage will limit acreage. Arkansas planted very little wheat last year. And it isn’t just us. The same was true for Mississippi, Louisiana — essentially the whole Southeast and the soft red winter wheat region. I hear a lot of seed production fields weren’t planted because of wet weather.
“So, you get that scenario set up and then there’s a run-up in the market price. That’s why there’s a seed shortage.”
(For more, see Got wheat seed?)
On the wheat supply…
“Apparently, the current supply of wheat isn’t a problem (for more, see World wheat supplies adequate). Think back a few months and everyone was saying there was a glut of wheat.
“Then, there’s news about drought in Russia — and thing are bad over there — and they shut down exports (for more, see http://deltafarmpress.com/wheat/russian-wheat-drought-speculation-0806/index.html and Russian wheat crop shrinks). But this speculation is based on what the wheat supply levels might be in a year.”
On Arkansas’ corn crop…
“The corn crop is variable. The producers that were able to irrigate properly have a lot of good corn, north to south.
“Where the irrigation was spottier — where folks were late with a watering or missed the first watering — some of the fields aren’t pretty. Mother Nature helped us very little this season. The crop we’ve got, we pretty much made ourselves through irrigation.”
On the corn harvest…
“You’d think corn harvest would hit all at once but that isn’t the case. Some growers have been harvesting for 10 days, putting high moisture corn in the bin. Another group will wait until the grain gets down to 15 or 16 percent moisture and haul it directly to the river.”