STAFF BLOG AG RIGHT A dearth of durum
When I was a kid, we grew durum and hard red spring wheat on our family farm in central North Dakota. I was 9 or 10 when I learned that durum is actually harder than hard wheat. That didn't make sense... Posted on 3/9/12 at 9:34 AM
Keith Deutsch knows that part of his job is promoting his crop. He knows he needs to be realistic, too. “It just doesn’t look too good for this spring,” says Deutsch. a Plaza, N.D., farmer and president of the U.S. Durum Growers Association. “It may sound strange for someone from the association to be saying that.” But Deutsch and other area durum boosters say they have to acknowledge the obvious.
The Agriculture Department says that stocks of spring, durum and winter wheat as of Sept. 1 were down 38 percent over the year to 229 million bushels. On-farm stocks were down 40 percent and off-farm stocks were down 34 percent.
North Dakota typically grows nearly three-fourths of the nation's durum, and its crop is prized for its golden color and high protein. This year's crop, however, is expected to be only about 24.6 million bushels, or about two-fifths of last year's.
North Dakota farmers this year planted the fewest acres to durum since 1958, and the fewest acres to hard red spring wheat since 1985, according to an uncommon revision report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
North Dakota’s wheat crop surprises members with better-than-expected conditions The upshot of a three-day tour of North Dakota’s wheat fields by a bushel and a peck of industry types was that the crop looks surprisingly good.
“It’s better than I expected,” said Ben Handcock, who has organized the tour for 20 years for the Wheat Quality Council. “It’s better than most people expected.”
But damage from floods, rain still not all tallied A crop production report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows significant decreases in North Dakota of projected harvested acreage and production of small grains, such as wheat, barley and oats, as well as some other crops.
North Dakota farmers, struggling with unusually wet fields, planted far fewer acres this spring than they did a year ago, the federal government says. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s report last week may not have captured how big the drop-off in planted acreage actually is.
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