Farmers pleased with wheat harvest

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Amber waves of grain and considerably higher wheat prices and yields have many in the county rejoicing over the 2007 wheat harvest.

“Everything I’ve heard this year has been really good,” said Patrick Kircher, Roosevelt County Agriculture Extension Agent.

“It’s going real good. We’re harvesting above average crops,” said Terry Varnell, owner of Rogers Grain.

Varnell attributes the yield to the moisture the area has received over the past several months. The moisture was prevalent in the area when the crops were planted last fall and continued through the growing season, he said.

Varnell, who has owned and operated Rogers Grain since 1986, said this year has been a record year for the company. Throughout the harvest season, they have received over 30 million pounds of wheat, he said.

“This has been a good wheat year. We’ve been pretty fortunate,” Varnell said.

According to Harold Terry of the Farm Services Agency in Portales, 50,443 acres of wheat for grain were planted for the 2006 harvest.

For the 2007 harvest season, 67,378 acres of wheat for grain were planted.

Tuesday the price per bushel at J.D. Heiskell was $5.17 a bushel and at Rogers Grain, the price was $5.14. Last year the average price per bushel was around $3, according to officials from both companies.

Wet conditions which helped the crop have slowed the harvest somewhat. It has been a struggle to get in and out of the fields. At the peak of the harvest season, J.D. Heiskell was receiving up to 40 truckloads a day. This week it dropped down to 15 or 20 per day, and

Holland predicts the season will be over within a week’s time, he said.

Since June 9, when the harvest began, Rogers Grain has received upwards of 50 truckloads of grain a day. A good portion of the wheat is coming from across the Texas border and the area surrounding Rogers. Varnell predicts that the wheat harvest is 85 to 90 percent completed. Much of the wheat harvested in the area is moved to J.D. Heiskell and other companies and is used for flour and cattle feed, Varnell said.

“Most of this is pretty good quality wheat around here,” Varnell said of this year’s crop.