Students driving to Pullman for WSU’s fall semester likely will miss a customary sight this summer: combines threshing Palouse fields of wheat.
Because of the drought, wheat harvest is two weeks ahead of typical years, and threshing is nearly over. This summer’s yield is lower than the 123 million bushels predicted, more like the 108 million bushels harvested last summer, which also was unusually dry and hot.
This year’s crop is rich in protein, a byproduct of extreme weather. And with wheat, extra protein is not good.
Washington’s soft white wheat is known to be ideal grain for making puffy pastry and noodles. But higher protein levels – this year, it’s up to 5% higher – undermines that. And not only is the quality less desirable, wheat prices hover more than a dollar lower per bushel than in 2014.
Learn more in this Spokesman-Review article.