Wheat: The most important crop of 2022

Updated: Jul. 27, 2022 at 8:07 AM CDT
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(25 News Now) - Lately, we’ve seen prices soar at the gas pump and at the grocery store. Ukraine was the largest exporter of wheat.

I visited a local wheat farmer to learn more about what is being called the most important crop of 2022.

Wheat is a small grain. A lot of it is used in a lot of foods -- bread is a big one, muffins, cupcakes, things like that -- they grind it down into flour -- so anytime you’re using flour you’re using a wheat product.

So this crop here that we’re standing in is a winter wheat -- we plant it in the fall, sometime late September, early October it’ll get some good growth on it before it goes into winter. It will go dormant through the winter and then early spring when it starts warming up -- just like a lawn it’ll start to green up and grow right on through the heat of summer and will come ready about usually by the end of June, beginning of July.

When we harvest wheat, a lot of guys will just cut about halfway down the plant because all we really need for the grain is the top part of the of the plant where the seed head is. It heads out - that’s where the grain forms at the top and we will cut that off, thrush it through a combine that will separate all that out and we’ll will get the grain in the hopper and that’s when what take to the elevator to be processed.

So the stems of the wheat, we can cut it a little bit low we can we can put in to rows and we come through with a bailer and bail it into bales and use for bedding for livestock, pets, different things like that.

There is a difference between hay and straw -- hay has a lot of protein and nutrients for livestock and they eat that and use it for feed -- where straw there really isn’t much nutrients left because it’s a dead plant so that’s why they bail and they mainly use after bedding and other uses.

About a third of my organic acres are wheat and it’s kind of gives a break from soybeans and corn and it kinda helps rotate things out for insect pressure and weed pressure.

You know it’s something different everywhere you go you see corn and beans in Illinois and it’s something different. It’s kind of it’s really kind of fun to combine and watch grow - it’s unique with the current conflicts going on in the world wheat’s kind of at the forefront to make sure we keep food on people’s tables.

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