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A look at Montana's Winter Wheat harvest

Winter Wheat Harvest in Montana
Posted at 8:28 AM, Aug 04, 2023

Harvest season is underway across Montana and farmers have something to look forward to in terms of a price per bushel of wheat.

For a January delivery, the price per bushel of wheat is sitting at $7.50 and in that price still comes the cost to transport. In Cascade and surrounding counties, that extra cost doesn't hurt as bad with producers seeing average to above-average years in crop yield.

Head to the Hi-Line and Southeastern Montana and it's hard to remain optimistic where drought persists.

"If we don't get any hail, we're looking at potentially having a record winter wheat crop right here north of Highway 2. They're still in drought. There are people up there that are having very, very poor harvests. I know in the southeast corner of the state, there's nothing there. They didn't get enough of a stand to even bale it for feed," said Steve Sheffels, Secretary of Montana Grain Growers Association.

The concern grows as forecasted throughout southern and north-central portions of the state this weekend are ridden with the chance of thunderstorms.

One way optimism remains high is the unfortunate conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In recent weeks, Russian forces have attacked a major port in Ukraine causing the price of a bushel of wheat above $9.00, that price has since gone down.

"The price where it is, farmers can make money doing that. This $7.50 price is a good price for wheat when it's around five or six bucks, it's starting to get pretty iffy for some people. The smaller farmers have a much harder time of it than bigger farmers just because of the economies of scale. I think everybody can make money at $7.50, that's a good price for us."

Wheat producers are in the middle of this harvest and more data is needed on how factors have affected this season's winter wheat harvest.