Colorado’s largest winter wheat crop in 10 years
Colorado is third in U.S. winter wheat production for 2009, with an estimated production of 93,600,000 bushels of winter wheat harvested, ranking only behind Kansas and Washington state. On a 10-year average, Colorado has been eighth in U.S. winter wheat production, and was ranked 10th last year. Darrell Hanavan, executive director for the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee, said Colorado has never before been ranked so high.
Sara Olsen, a family farmer from Yuma, said the wheat fields were like the Garden of Eden this year.
“We had one of our best years ever,” Olsen said. “The yields we so high it took us longer to cut the wheat, as the combines had to drive more slowly.”
Despite hail damage to some fields, yields on the Olsen farm averaged 55 bushels per acre, 10 bushels higher than their typical average yield of 45 bushels per acre. The Colorado yield in 2009 is projected at 39 bushels per acre.
This crop is the largest in 10 years, beating out even 2007, the last “bumper crop” year. Yields of over 100 bushels on dryland (non-irrigated) fields were reported near Burlington. Yields in the southeastern part of the state were closer to average, with the larger yields coming along the I-70 corridor and north.
Drought and freeze caused crop failures in Texas and Oklahoma, which usually outrank Colorado in winter wheat production.
Cool weather in June during grain filling and more abundant moisture than the last several years is credited with helping produce the large crop.