Today’s Topic: A lot of wheat planted in North Carolina for 2012

by | Mar 27, 2012

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Southern Farm Network logo USDA’s “Prospective Plantings Report” won’t be released until March 30, but it’s already obvious that North Carolina farmers planted a bunch of winter wheat for harvest later this year.

A January report indicated that 800,000 acres of wheat were planted for 2012, which could lead to a tremendous year for growers if the weather cooperates. North Carolina saw a record yield of 68 bushels an acre in 2011, and strong prices have farmers hoping for another good payday this year.

The NCDA&CS regional agronomist in southeastern North Carolina said there has been more wheat planted in that region than he has seen in his 10 years working there.

There is a concern, though, that the crop is developing more quickly than normal. The drought around the state the last couple of years has left a lot of residual fertilizer in the soil. That, plus N.C.’s mild winter, has caused the wheat crop to develop about two weeks ahead of schedule, Commissioner Troxler says.

The concern is that, if there’s a hard freeze between now and mid-April, the crop could suffer some significant damage because it’s farther along than usual.

Some growers have clipped or mowed the tops back to try to slow the growth, but most haven’t done anything and are just taking their chances with the weather. So far, temperatures haven’t posed a problem, but recent thunderstorms brought damaging hail to some wheat fields.

Click below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda talk about wheat.

[Audio: |titles=Today’s Topic for March 27]

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