Farm Talk


October 8, 2013

USDA estimates record winter wheat crop in Ark.

Parsons, Kansas — Arkansas winter wheat producers who are just weeks away from planting will be going into their next season with an expected record yield from the crop they harvested in June.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service is forecasting a yield of 62 bushels per acre from the crop harvested in 2013; beating the old state record of 61 bushels set in 2006.

Steve Stevens of Tillar in southeast Arkansas said his wheat yields seemed to reflect USDA’s forecast.

“As a whole it did,” he said. “We were seeing yields from the low 60s to almost 80 bushels per acre.

“I think it was good varieties and a bit of luck,” he said. “We had a pretty wet winter and wheat as a whole doesn’t like to have wet feet.”

“Arkansas wheat producers were excited about outstanding wheat yields this year,” said Jason Kelley, Extension wheat and feed grains agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “With a cool and wet spring that delayed spring crop planting, there were a lot of predictions that the wheat crop wouldn’t be very good.

“Typically we have our highest yields when we get a dry spring and high yields this year were a pleasant surprise,” he said.

“What caused the high yields? I believe the cool weather was beneficial to allow a long grain fill period,” Kelley said. “In Europe, the Pacific Northwest, other places that have really high wheat yields, they typically have cool temperatures and a long duration from wheat heading to maturity, which is exactly what we experienced this year.”

Kelley added that “having wheat pre-sold at high prices also made it easier to justify inputs for the crop such as foliar fungicides to control diseases and proper fertilizer rates.

Planning for the 2014 crop Extension economist Scott Stiles said the markets were presenting wheat with a somewhat gloomy face.

“Compared to this point in time last year, July wheat futures are significantly lower — 22 percent lower,” he said. “But, with July ’14 wheat trading near $6.90 this week, there is opportunity for profit.”

Similar to corn and soybeans, wheat futures have also worked significantly lower over the past 12 months. A year ago, July 2013 Wheat futures were trading at $8.54.

On a more positive note, the cost of fertilizer has declined over the past 12 months. For example, urea is about 25 percent less expensive compared to last year. Dealer quotes near $400 per ton and lower for urea have been common around Arkansas in recent days. These dramatic price changes in wheat and fertilizer should be two main drivers behind a fresh look at 2014 costs and returns.

Stiles said that “given the noticeable changes over the past year in both wheat and fertilizer prices, I strongly encourage growers to use our Extension crop budgeting resources and spreadsheet tools. Once spreadsheet budgets are established, they are very easy to update.

“Extension economists would be glad to work with anyone or a group of producers on crop budgeting,” he said.

The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service budgets, available at

For more information on crop production, visit, http://arka or contact your county Extension office. £

Text Only
  • cornplantlatemay2.jpg WASDE report eases low crop price fears

    USDA’s April 9 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates continued a series of recent reports that have offered corn and soybean producers a more optimistic grain-price outlook than what was expected for most of the winter, Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt says.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • USDA: Corn acres expected to drop 4%

    The amount of American cropland devoted to corn is expected to shrink about 4 percent this year as farmers devote more acres to soybeans, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said last week.

    April 8, 2014

  • Bt-resistant rootworms ID’d in five states

    Researchers say bugs are developing resistance to the widely popular genetically engineered corn plants that make their own insecticide, so farmers may have to make changes.

    April 1, 2014

  • MU economist: Corn, bean price volatility next 5 years

    Expect volatility in the soybean and corn markets over the next five years, said Pat Westhoff, director of the University of Missouri Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (MU FAPRI).
    Look for corn prices to drop to $4 per bushel and soybean to $10 per bushel on average for the next five years, he said.

    March 25, 2014

  • marestail.jpg Plan now to control marestail in soybeans

    Controlling marestail in soybeans has been a big challenge for Kansas no-till producers in recent years.
    Because soybeans are generally planted later in the season, and marestail generally germinates in the fall or early spring, application timing and weed size are critical factors to successful control.

    March 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Checking alfalfa for winter injury

    In the last couple of weeks, I’ve heard many concerns about alfalfa production for this spring.
    Cold temperatures and lack of snow cover are the two main issues producers are worried about for next season’s crop production, as certainly the alfalfa plant could die if exposed to extremely cold temperatures. In general, alfalfa plants can tolerate up to three weeks of winter injury before the plants are killed.

    March 11, 2014

  • soypods.jpg USDA reports on status of GE crops

    Genetically engineered (GE) varieties with pest management traits became commercially available for major crops in 1996.
    More than 15 years later, adoption of these varieties by U.S. farmers is widespread and U.S. consumers eat many products derived from GE crops — including corn-meal, oils, and sugars — largely unaware that these products were derived from GE crops.

    March 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • wheat-head.jpg Everest still leads Kan. wheat acres

    For the second year in a row, a variety of wheat developed by Kansas State University, is the leading variety in Kansas.

    February 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • RickReimer.jpg Innovation, exports fuel soybean demand

    Brent Hayek is revved up about potential new uses for soybeans, and he is piling up the miles to share his enthusiasm.

    February 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • red_clover.jpg Seed legumes on snowy fields

    Winter seeding clover over grass pastures works best in February. Frozen fields are ideal and a snow cover makes seeding easier.

    February 11, 2014 1 Photo

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content