Wheat growers might “think seriously” about turning grain planted for grazing or seed into a cash crop if current price trends continue.

Wheat growers might “think seriously” about turning grain planted for grazing or seed into a cash crop if current price trends continue.

Jefferson County extension director Mike Jeffcoat corrects an observation of an “improved” market.

“Prices are GOOD!” Jeffcoat said, noting market prices topping $8 a bushel on the Kansas City Board of Trade Tuesday. The Chicago board price was down 21 cents at $7.88 on the same morning posting for July wheat.

Though located on the fringe of Oklahoma’s wheat growing area, Jeffcoat said Jefferson County winter wheat growers plant primarily for grazing or seed purposes.

Carter County extension director Leland McDaniel names Jack Cunningham and a couple of farmers around Ratliff City as the only growers in the immediate area. He agrees that current price trends could influence some farmers to plant for harvesting.

Jeffcoat points to Dr. Kim Anderson at Oklahoma State as the acknowledged expert on wheat production, marketing and sales. Anderson indicates Oklahoma has good reason to be excited, Jeffcoat said. His marketing and risk management report issued late last week points to a shortage of transportation equipment and Kansas City Board of Trade July contract prices as major subjects in the wheat market. Yields are phenomenal.

“The harvest is about 75 percent complete in the southern one-fourth (of Oklahoma), 40 to  70 percent in the next fourth and spotty in the rest of the state,” Anderson wrote in a report issued June 5. “Yields are well above expectations with state production 160 million bushels, or higher.”

The current yield compares with a 125 million bushel five-year average and 131 million bushels over 10 years. The USDA estimate was 149 million bushels. Test weights are average 62 to 63 pounds with few loads below 60 pounds.

“Elevators in southern Oklahoma do not have the capacity to store an above average wheat crop,” Anderson writes. “Early in the wheat harvest there is always demand for new crop wheat, Rail cars and trucks are loaded almost directly from the farm trucks. The elevators are having trouble obtaining rail transportation equipment.

“One elevator is still waiting on rail cars ordered in March. Several elevators are full and have stopped taking producer grain. They are searching for available storage and trucks. High diesel prices will result in lower prices.”

As to the market price, Anderson says the Kansas City BoT cannot get away from the $8 July wheat contract.

”The July contract price tested the $8 support price on March 15 ($7.98 low) and has traded between $7.87 and $8.52 since,” he said.

All in all, it looks like winter wheat is finally back to being a profit-making cash crop.

The Daily Ardmoreite