A field of wheat in Chatham-Kent. July 6, 2016. (Photo by Simon Crouch)

Wheat Versatility Keeps It As Solid Option For 2017

Agronomist Peter Johnson thinks growers will plant lots of winter wheat again this fall, despite low prices.

He says this year’s record harvest will have farmers in a good mood about the crop.

He also points the pricing, in an indirect way, underscores the versatility of the crop.

According to Johnson, wheat prices have lost their about 1 dollar a bushel premium over corn prices this year because more of it is being used as livestock feed, not food for human consumption.

He also argues weather changes are making wheat an even more critical part of a farmer’s crop rotation.

Johnson says wheat is able to help the soil hold a lot of moisture in a way that other crops can get at it, something he suggests is important with the weather we’re seeing now in Ontario.

He feels wheat needs to be a mainstay in the crop rotation to help Ontario farmers deal with weather variations.

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“I think, given the chance this fall, most growers are going to go to the field and plant the wheat crop. If things really go south I guess they can always take it out next spring and plant a different crop if they have to but big yields means producers are in a good mood.”

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“Fortunately, for us, it’s often a food crop which gives us that price premium but you can feed it, particularly to hogs and chickens, you can feed a significant amount of wheat.”

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“Without wheat, you don’t have that opportunity to improve the soil health, to build that soil structure, to increase that organic matter. I think with the weather we’re getting here in Ontario that wheat just has to become one of the mainstays of that crop rotation.”