Floyd County producer says cost of bread may rise with winter wheat in poor condition
FLOYD COUNTY, Texas (KCBD) - The cost of bread may rise in grocery stores because of how winter wheat is doing across the world, including here on the South Plains.
“It’s pretty bad,” wheat producer, Mike Lass, said. “2011 was pretty rough, this one is shaping up to be worse.”
This year it’s dust storms, a drought and high input costs putting pressure on producers.
“It’s getting sand blasted, and then again, there’s no moisture under it,” Lass said.
Lass has been growing winter wheat in Floyd County for 15 years. He says this year he spent more to get it in the ground. It cost him $80 an acre to plant. Now, months later, even with insurance, he doesn’t think he’s making that money back.
“You might get enough to get your inputs back but probably not,” Lass said.
Lass showed KCBD the edges of the wheat are already turning brown.
“Those are called tillers and they’re actually dying,” Lass said. “So, what the wheat is doing is - it’s going into shut down mode to where eventually they’ll only be one or two tillers left.”
He says there should be as many as 15 tillers per plant. With only six left, he doesn’t expect to make money off the crop.
“Every one of those tillers will have a head of wheat on it, so that’s where your yield comes from,” Lass said.
His main goal with wheat is to use it as a cover crop to keep the soil there for cotton season.
“At least maybe I can hold some ground and keep from blowing the cotton crop out and blowing my neighbors out,” Lass said. “Best case scenario: it rains and we make some wheat.”
Lass says this is something many wheat growers are dealing with. That means customers will probably face higher costs for bread.
“With what’s going on in the Ukraine and if we don’t have a crop in the Midwest, then where’s that wheat going to come from,” Lass said.
Lass says he’s still optimistic that it will rain before harvest time. He has until July to make some cash back.
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