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Buyers will assess state’s wheat crop during tour
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Buyers will assess state’s wheat crop during tour

Grain buyers and mill representatives will inspect the quality of Virginia-grown wheat May 30 during an annual spring tour.

“This event affords an opportunity to assess this year’s crop just prior to harvest and gather yield and quality information—something millers will use when planning their upcoming purchases,” said Robert Harper, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation grain manager. “It also gives us an opportunity to showcase some of Virginia’s premier wheat growers.”

Farm Bureau has offered its members grain marketing services since 1972.

This is the fourth year Virginia fields have been included in the mid-Atlantic tour. Participants will examine wheat on farms in Culpeper County and on the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula to take sample test weights, estimate yields and check for signs of disease. Traders and mill representatives, particularly those from Pennsylvania, will use that information to make their purchasing and milling plans for the year.

Most wheat grown in Virginia is the soft red winter variety, which is used in flour for bread, pastries, cakes and crackers. The tour also will include a farm where hard wheat is grown. That variety has a higher gluten content and is used for making crustier breads.

Last year’s tour showcased wheat with strong yield potential and low to moderate disease pressure, despite cool spring conditions and recent rains.

The Virginia portion of the tour is being organized by Farm Bureau in partnership with Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Culpeper Farmers’ Cooperative. Participants will include representatives from Ardent Mills, Gavilon Grain, INTL FCStone, Meherrin Ag & Chemical, Mennel Milling Co.’s Old Dominion Grain, Perdue Agribusiness, The Scouler Co. and the Virginia Grain Producers Association.

Virginia farmers expect to harvest 7.13 million bushels of winter wheat this year, according to the Virginia field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. That forecast represents a 23% decrease when compared to the 2018 harvest. Per-bushel yields, however, are up slightly—62 bushels per acre, compared to 60 bushels in 2018.

Wheat growers seeded 180,000 acres last fall; 115,000 acres will be harvested for grain, the other 65,000 were planted as a cover crop or will be cut for silage or hay.

With 129,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, VFBF is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization committed to supporting Virginia’s agriculture industry.

Media: Contact Harper at 804-290-1105.

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