McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

June 26, 2014

Slim harvest: Grain elevators see fewer bushels than average

ENID, Okla. — Some area grain elevators took in less than half of the average bushels of wheat this harvest.

“The bushels received (were) well below average. In fact, I think I figured 24 percent of our 10-year average is what we got,” Carrier Mill & Elevator Manager Lee Redman said, “which is the lowest total bushels we’ve had since 1955.”

Bison Co-op General Manager Tim Milacek reported the co-op received 30 percent of the average harvest.

“It will be a slim year, but it’s agriculture. You just fight through the tough times and save up in the good times,” he said.

Farmers Co-op Association of Alva General Manager Ronnie Truelock said the co-op received 20 to 25 percent of the normal crop.

“We lost almost half of the acres to hay ... and then we had half a yield per acre, or less,” he said. “The fear is that we don’t have much hail insurance like the producers do, so we don’t have any lifelines out there — thank goodness that they do.

“We’ll have to tighten our belts and hopefully we’re going to have some fall crops — they’re not going to replace all the bushels, but they may help out with a little extra added opportunities.”

Grain-wise, Truelock said the co-op needs the wheat crop every year to have a positive line.

“But if we can have it in the milo side, that will sure help,” he said. “It’s going to be a hit to the bottom line one way or another.”

Redman said Carrier Mill & Elevator operations are “back to normal hours.”

“I think we’re 99.9 percent finished,” he said, adding that he knew of one person still trying to cut some wheat.

Harvest is over for Bison Co-op, which saw yields from five to 45 bushels to the acre.

“But most generally, it was in the mid-20s,” Milacek said.

There still were some farmers harvesting over the weekend and bringing wheat to the Farmers Co-op Association of Alva, but work was halted by rain Sunday.

Harvesting had not yet resumed when it rained again Tuesday, Truelock said.

“I think that rain we had last night pretty well ended it all,” he said Wednesday. “I think there’s a few acres (that are) going to be left out there, but I’m afraid with the weeds growing like they are, there’s going to be very few that will try to cut out.

“I think most of them will call the insurance company and try to finish harvest in that method. There will be a few that will come in.”

The harvest news isn’t much better elsewhere in the state.

U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates Oklahoma’s wheat crop will be 59.4 million bushels, down 44 percent from last year. Last year’s wheat crop in Oklahoma came in at 105.4 million bushels.

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