Northern Colorado wheat crop coming in fast and furious
ROGGEN – Keith DeVoe is dealing with a problem he doesn’t mind at all.
However, DeVoe, general manager of the Roggen Farmers Elevator in southeast Weld County, said Tuesday “we need a little rain right now just so we can catch our breath.”
That’s due to a bumper wheat crop that has been coming in so fast and furious since July 6 that DeVoe can’t move it, so he’s put about 200,000 bushels on the ground in a pile that’s about three stories high. The problem, he said, is that there just aren’t “enough trucks and man hours” to haul the bumper crop to flour mills.
“These guys have been going from morning to night since (July 6) down here and people are just getting tired. But that’s all right. It’s a great problem to have,” DeVoe said.
Farmers and elevator workers got a slight reprieve Tuesday following rains that left about a quarter of an inch of moisture across the area, which was part of the storms that moved off the Front Range late Monday and early Tuesday. Upward of 2-3 inches of rain was reported in the Wiggins area. Heavy rain and some hail was reported from Platteville to Fort Lupton, with some minor flooding resulting, said Roy Rudisill, director of the Weld Office of Emergency Management.
The rain doesn’t hurt the wheat stored on the ground as long as it’s stacked correctly, DeVoe said.
That came from the same storms that pounded the Denver area and left as many as 90,000 people without power and many with heavy hail damage.
DeVoe said at least
20 percent of the dryland wheat crop has yet to be harvested in southeast Weld, while most of the crop near Briggsdale and north of Greeley, along with the harvest of irrigated wheat, is just getting started.
According to the Colorado office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, about 50 percent of the winter wheat crop has been harvested statewide, but as much as 15 percent or more of the crop is not yet ripe. That compares with the five-year average of 98 percent ripe and 79 percent harvested by this date.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the statewide average will be 37 bushels to the acre, but in southeast Weld, that will easily be exceeded, DeVoe said, noting the average could approach 50 bushels to the acre.
“It’s big down here, but for the past nine or 10 years, guys have been dealing with hail and drought. This is a one in 10-year crop,” he said.
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