Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Growing Wheat Belt Represents Challenge to State Producers

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Growing Wheat Belt Represents Challenge to State Producers

Article excerpt

New planting techniques and improved varieties are helping the winter wheat belt edge farther north, representing a challeng e to local trade, according to Walter Adams, chairman of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission.

"In terms of moving the belt farther north, it is really a detriment to the Oklahoma wheat producer, because it puts more land in direct competition with his product," Chris Rink, assistant executive director of the commission said.

Rink sees the efforts as an attempt by Canada to "move in on a market that we have established."

Oklahoma is a net exporter of hard, red winter wheat, second most years only to Kansas in production of the commodity, Adams said.

Technology increasing the number of acres where it can be grown eats into the Oklahoma market, Adams said - and its getting a little out of hand.

"Anywhere you can grow a weed you can grow wheat anymore," he said.

Canada's winter wheat acreage increased 16-fold in the last four years, from fewer than 50,000 acres in 1981 to 350,000 acres in 1984 and more than 800,000 acres in 1985, according to Agriculture Department estimates.

The winter wheat area, however, still represents only about 2.4 percent of Canada's 34 million acres of wheat this year. But the trend has started to alert a few commodity watchers.

"We're aware of it," Carl Schwensen, executive vice president of the National Association of Wheat Growers told . "But we haven't performed any analysis of what the impact may be orwhether the trend will continue."

Suppose the trend to winter wheat does continue to grow in Canada?

"In that case, we definitely would have a big concern, if we saw a shift of that magnitude," Schwensen said. "It would mean more competition from Canada" in selling hard, red winter wheat to foreign buyers, the chief kind grown in the United States - a large portion of which comes from Oklahoma.

As a rule-of-thumb, wheat planted in the fall and harvested the following summer has larger yields. …

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