Farmers hopeful wheat crop will make up for drought shortfalls - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Farmers hopeful wheat crop will make up for drought shortfalls

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BROWN COUNTY, Ill. (WGEM) - Wheat planting is underway in the tri-states, and farmers hope it provides some extra income after a devastating drought this summer.

Because of recent rainfalls, the wheat crop is already off to a promising start.

Brown County farmer Alan Koch is sowing wheat. He says it's the first time he's planted wheat in nearly 10 years, but says the price is good.

"I talked to one of my buddies that sells wheat and he said he's completely out. He's sold out. Said he hasn't done that in years," Koch said.

Wheat is also a crop farmers say they know they can depend on.

"This year is probably going to be the largest amount of acres we've had for ten or twelve years," Mike Roegge with University of Illinois Extension said.

Koch is just one of those farmers who made the decision to plant wheat this year. Wheat is much cheaper to plant than corn and beans and has the smallest risk.  There are about five different types of wheat grown in the United States, and experts say the prices right now in the Tri-States are high.

"The wheat we grow around here is called soft red winter wheat. It's mostly used for pastries, flour pastries, things like that," Roegge said.

And the money farmers bring in for their wheat crop will be a big help come summertime.

"It gives you some income early in the year. Otherwise all of your crop income doesn't come in until fall," Koch said.

And even after losing money this year with corn and beans, Koch says one thing he's not losing is hope.

"It's gotta be better than our corn and beans were this year hopefully. So, that's what we're hoping for," Koch said.

Roegge says because of recent rainfall, wheat should germinate quickly. But the crop will require additional moisture this winter to reach deeper soil levels and produce strong wheat yields.

"The crop really isn't utilizing any moisture right now. Most of the moisture is still in the top several inches of soil, which is very good for wheat planting. Wheat should germinate very quickly with the amount of moisture we've had lately," Mike Roegge with University of Illinois Extension said.

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