wheat

Anna King/Northwest News Network

Northwest farmers are pouring on the water to moisten soils ahead of the triple-digit temperatures and possible record highs expected this weekend.

As the temperature climbs, Drex Gauntt in Washington’s Walla Walla County has some baby sweet corn he’s pretty worried about.

The head of the Washington Grain Commission says the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement is a good thing. But he says it won’t necessarily bring direct benefits to Washington wheat farmers.

Washington Ag Network

Northwest wheat growers are in the midst of their fall harvest, but the embargo on U.S. agricultural products by China is playing a role in the price and how farmers will sell their product this year.

Prices are currently not as high as many growers would hope for. Officials with the Washington Association of Wheat Growers say the break-even price is about $6.50 per bushel. On Friday, the average price was 5 dollars a bushel.

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This year’s wheat crop nationwide is the smallest it has been in decades. On a national scale, the number of acres planted in wheat total 45.7 million acres, the lowest acreage since 1919. That’s after the 2016 harvest that was the least profitable in 30 years.

Glen Squires is with the Washington Grain Commission, “From 2012, for example the price of soft white wheat was $8.00 at the export point, and right now it’s $5.00, last year the average price was $4.20.”

Colin Curwen-McAdams opens the door to his greenhouse in Mt. Vernon, Wash., and a rush of warm air pours out.

"Basically, it's summer all year long here," he jokes.

Curwen-McAdams, a PhD student at Washington State University, and WSU professor Steven Jones have developed a new species: a cross between wheat and its wild cousin, wheat grass. They call it Salish Blue. Their goal was to make something that's like wheat but grows back year after year.