Tom Dorsey / Salina Journal

From Kansas Agland:

For decades, the nation's breadbasket has been sowing fewer and fewer acres to wheat.

That's evident on Paul Penner's Marion County farm - where he once planted 75 percent of his fields to wheat. These days, wheat has dropped to a third of his crop production.

The reason is simple, Penner says. Farmers see more profitability in crops like corn and soybeans.

High Plains Silos Juggle an Overflow of Crops

Oct 9, 2015
Gerald B. Keane / Public Domain

Many grain elevators on the High Plains still have a lot of wheat to move this year, reports agriculture.com. Some silos are hauling the summer wheat crop out of storage and onto ground piles or bunkers in anticipation of a large fall harvest. The US dollar is at a high value right now, and there’s a glut of wheat on the global market. That means many elevators have more grain than they know what to do with.

Kansas Wheat Farmers May Consider Durum in Future

Aug 20, 2015
Kansas Agland

Kansas has long been considered the nation’s breadbasket. That’s because of its hard red winter wheat production. But one Kansas crop breeder is looking to turn the state into America’s pasta bowl. For the past 17 years, Ray Brengman has been working  to breed a new type of wheat called winter durum, used in pasta. In a state where water is increasingly scarce, Brengman thinks durum has a bright future, reports Kansas Agland.

For Kansas Crops, the Return of an Unwelcome Disease

Jul 22, 2015
C.K. Hartman / Flickr Creative Commons

For the first time since the Dust Bowl, wheat flag smut has returned to Kansas wheat fields, reports Kansas AgLand.

While this rare fungal disease is not a threat to humans or animals, it can reduce yields.  That’s why some countries that trade with the US place restrictions on buying wheat from areas affected by the disease.

Wheat Crop Stronger than Expected, Despite Hurdles

Jul 12, 2015
Tanner Colvin / Salina Journal

Kansas Agland reports that many farmers have been pleasantly surprised by this year’s wheat crop—especially considering that this year’s crop was subjected to just about every threat imaginable.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

While the five-year drought has been broken in Oklahoma, the rain was too much and too late for many wheat farmers, says StateImpact, a reporting project of NPR stations. This year, the wheat crop was ready before the fields were dry. Though the rain was certainly more welcome than the alternative, many wheat fields were too soggy for combines and other heavy equipment to be employed.

The Evolution of the Great American Combine

Jun 22, 2015
Edmund Garman / Flickr Creative Commons

Kansas Agland has a report on how much wheat combines have evolved over the last century. According to the ag website, harvesting wheat a century ago involved cutting wheat stalks with a horse drawn binder and gathering them in bundles. The bundles were then stacked into windrows to dry, after which a giant steam-powered threshing machine separated the wheat kernels from the straw. The entire process was extremely labor intensive.

William Majoros / Creative Commons

Scientists in Wichita who’ve been studying the feathers of a small bird called the dark-eyed junco have come across something interesting, and possibly troublesome. The Wichita Eagle reports that scientists found pathogens resting in the birds’ belly feathers. This might not necessarily be a concern normally, but here’s where things get interesting:   The winter habitat of juncos is being degraded. Intensified agriculture is causing the birds to choose less than optimal habitats.

Recent rains helped Kansas wheat fields, but one rain isn't going to save this year's wheat crop.

Drought hammers winter wheat across the Plains

Jun 9, 2014
Ariana Brocious/Harvest Public Media

Much of the Midwest and the Plains have been battling drought for years. And the current winter wheat crop looks like it will be one of the worst in recent memory, stressing farmers in the heart of the Wheat Belt – from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.


Drought and a late April freeze could produce the worst wheat harvest in decades for the western part of Oklahoma history reported The Oklahoman

Global bumper wheat crop brings lower prices

Jan 19, 2014

Talk to any corn farmer and he or she will likely lament the dropping price of corn. But corn growers are not alone. Farmers who grow wheat are beginning to feel the same pinch.

Texas A&M AgriLife Research / Dr. Qingwu Xue

Drought tolerance in wheat has been increased through breeding over the years, but a group of Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists in Amarillo wanted to determine what plant physiological characteristics were making the biggest difference.

Drones Used To Diagnose Diseased Wheat Fields

Dec 10, 2013
Kay Ledbetter / Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Dr. Charlie Rush is a plant pathologist at Texas A&M AgriLife Research in Amarillo.  He’s partnered with Ian Johnson, a Montana State University-Bozeman graduate student, who’s using his work in the university’s Science and Natural History Filmmaking Program to help conduct research using a helicopter drone according to AgriLife.

Who wants biotech wheat?

Jul 4, 2013
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Many farmers say they would like to grow genetically engineered wheat to help them feed a hungry world, but it’s not what everyone’s hungry for. And now, with the mysterious appearance of Roundup Ready wheat in a farmer’s field in Oregon a few weeks ago, consumer resistance may grow even stronger.

Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States are genetically modified, but GMO wheat has never been approved for farming.

Last call for wheat trading in Kansas City

Jun 27, 2013

For 157 years, the price of most wheat grown on the plains has been set by the Kansas City Board of Trade. That will soon come to an end.

In October 2012, Chicago-based CME Group acquired the Kansas City Board of Trade. Operations move to Chicago as of July 1 – and the last call on the Kansas City trading floor takes place on Friday. Here's a look back at the long history of the Board of Trade – and the end of an era.

Deep roots in KC