By Charles H. Featherstone
Columbia Basin Herald 

State reports smallest wheat crop in decades

Barley crop also down


Last updated 10/6/2021 at 2:16pm

Dry stubble dominates an agricultural landscape in Adams County on Saturday.

MOSES LAKE - It was a rotten growing season for wheat farmers in the Columbia Basin, as the state's wheat growers reported the smallest harvest in 57 years.

"This is a pretty tough year for wheat farmers," said Joe Bippert, program director for the Washington Grain Commission in Spokane. "We last had production this low in 1964."

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual Small Grains 2021 Summary, which was published Sept. 30, while overall wheat acres sown in Washington in 2021 remained relatively unchanged from 2020, at just above 2.3 million acres, yields in 2021 plummeted to 39.1 bushels per acre, from 72.4 in 2020, prompting total wheat production in 2021 to fall by nearly 50% to 87.1 million bushels, from 166 million bushels in 2020.

Chris Mertz, director of the northwest region for the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service in Portland, wouldn't directly attribute the decline to the drought. But he said the lack of rainfall during the spring and summer didn't help.

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