The wheat harvest is in full-swing for Alabama farmers with more than a third of the state’s crop harvested, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
Last year, more than 90 percent of the wheat crop had been harvested by this time, and the 5-year average is 56 percent. The harvest is later than usual, because scattered showers are keeping some farmers out of their fields, while cool, wet spring conditions delayed growth.
Cullman County farmer Ben Haynes said spring weather postponed harvest three weeks. Haynes farms with his father, Darrel, and brother, Bart.
“We’d like to be finished already, but we’re just getting started,” Haynes said. “The yields are very good, probably some of the best we’ve ever cut. It’s been a surprise because I expected the cool spring to lower yields.”
Haynes said they’ve harvested 20 percent of their crop and hope to finish in another 10 days. He said they’re averaging 90 bushels an acre.
Soil conditions are good for planting soybeans behind the wheat, he said. “It’s a double-edged sword — we don’t want it to rain while we’re cutting wheat, but we sure do need some moisture to get the beans in the ground,” Haynes said. “Right now, moisture levels are adequate.”
Mobile County farmer Calvin Freeland is finished harvesting wheat and planting soybeans. Overall, he was disappointed with lower yields and reduced prices. “Yields weren’t quite as good as I thought they would be,” Freeland said.
“It looked like an outstanding crop, but ended up average. It did well up to a certain point, and I think cool weather got to it late in the season.”
Alabama farmers planted 260,000 acres of wheat in 2013, up from 220,00 acres in 2012, according to the USDA.
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