Spring rains hurt Mississippi’s wheat harvest

Published 8:43 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Experts say Mississippi’s once promising wheat harvest is now a disappointment and rainfall that started in mid-March and continued through May is to blame.

Farmers have harvested about 75 percent of the state’s 230,000 wheat acres, but officials with Mississippi State University Extension Service say some of the remaining acres will never be harvested due to flooding near the Yazoo River.

Erick Larson, MSU grain crops agronomist, says heavy rains saturated soils, reducing the grain yield and quality substantially.

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The state had 520,000 acres of wheat last year.

Larson says producers planted just half that this year, primarily in response to high nitrogen prices. Nitrogen is used in wheat production.

Larson says nitrogen prices fell but too late for many farmers.