Belfield wheat farmer says drought is impacting production by a third


North Dakota wheat farmer, Ed Kessel,  is seeing the impact the drought is having on his crops.

“Down the rows   . . they are not full . . . in a normal year wouldn’t see any dirt, ” said Kessel

In a normal year he yields 40-60 bushels of wheat . This year is looking more like 10-20.

“No moisture .You get these small, fine kernels, that is going to take away from your test weight., takes away from your yield,” said Kessel

If you want a good indication of how dry the fields are during the drought, take a yard stick and put it into one of the cracks. It might go down 8-10 inches. During a normal season with good rain, there would be no cracks in the ground at all.

“You can manage for a drought. You can do certain practices and things like that, but you need rain,” said Kessel

Farmers are concerned with the yield their wheat crops will bring in during this drought season, so some  have opted to bale their wheat for hay, because the demand and price are so good right now.

“You can see that winter wheat field next to me. It’s all baled up. The reason there is production is low and the price of hay was high, ” said Kessel.

The Belfield farmer said he won’t bale his wheat and will rely on crop insurance instead.

“It is important that in a year like this that we have some protection . . . able to protect ourselves. Its a significant dollar amount we are putting out there, ” said Kessel

Ed said  he usually harvest his wheat in August, but this year he started in July due to quality concerns.

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