Foreign buyers help Washington state wheat farmers

Drought and wildfires in Russia and bad weather in Canada could be good news this summer for Washington wheat farmers.

Those calamities are driving wheat prices higher at the same time weather conditions are producing a bumper crop in Washington, reports the Washington Grain Commission.

Across the wheat-growing regions of the state, yields are up 10 percent to 50 percent over last year, said Tom Mick, the commission’s chief executive officer.

The Washington harvest is running about a week to two weeks behind schedule because of a moist spring, Mick said Monday.

While that cool moisture generated potential problems with diseases for the crop, the higher yields are expected to more than compensate for any crops lost, Mick said.

Harvesting began July 10 in some parts of the state. That harvest will likely extend through September.

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