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Idaho Wheat Wrap 2021

Boise--Drought and high temperatures made for a difficult year for Idaho wheat growers this year.

“Well, as everybody knows we had a really hard year with the drought, and so our final production was down about 32%,” said Casey Chumrau, Executive Director of the Idaho Wheat Commission.

“And if you consider the fact that we were only about 1% lower on the planted acres, that really tells the story that the yields took a serious hit from that severe drought and the extreme heats that we saw over the summer. And that was across the board, across the state, and across all wheat classes,” added Chumrau.

“The irrigated and non-irrigated people suffered, probably not the same because obviously the dryland had no real irrigation options… but the real severe temperatures also affected the irrigated growers a lot this year. So, we certainly saw some dryland areas have 40% of normal, so they certainly suffered more and that’s one advantage that we have here in Idaho is that with the irrigation, a year like this maybe we only drop 30% as opposed to 40, 50% where some of our neighbors were in that category,” said Chumrau.

“It was a real stark difference in 2021 because it followed the record production of 2020 where we saw about 112 million bushels produced here in Idaho, and in 2021 we had just over 76 million. That was about 97 bushels per acre across all wheat classes and this year we were down to about 68 bushels per acre. So again, 32% lower than the year before and that follows record yields, record production and now we’re probably the lowest production in maybe 40 years.”

“Yeah, we’re seeing a classic example of supply and demand right now as world stocks get very tight with both lower production here in the U.S. and in Canada, and also Russia continues to adjust their final production numbers lower and lower. The world just can’t buy enough wheat so prices have really skyrocketed, and unfortunately for this region we don’t have a lot of extra bushels to take advantage of those prices this year. A lot of our growers of course, smartly had committed their bushels and sold a lot of their production with contracts and unfortunately there’s just not a lot left over this year to take advantage of those high prices.”

“We’re expecting to see at least the same amount of acres if not maybe a little bit more. Idaho has a pretty consistent crop rotation and growers seem to stick to that for the most past. They have a little bit a flexibility but we’re certainly looking for more rain. We need additional rain this year, we’ve seen a slight improvement the last few weeks with the rain that we’ve received but we’re still in really severe drought conditions, so looking for probably the same amount of acres but hoping that we’ll get some rain to help with the yields this year.”