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Treasure Valley wheat yields down but quality superb

The hot summer reduced wheat yields in the Treasure Valley but the quality of the crop is outstanding, growers say. (KBOI photo)

Wheat is one of Idaho's top three crops, and local growers say in addition to domestic markets, countries all over the world seek out Gem State wheat because it is consistently excellent.

But this season, wheat yields locally failed to meet expectations. Blame that on the hot, dry summer.

"Yields were off about 20 percent across the Treasure Valley," said Richard Durrant, general manager of Big D Ranch near Meridian. "Prices were up a little bit, but yields were down."

Yields may be down but the quality of soft white wheat, which is most of the wheat grown in the Treasure Valley, is once again outstanding, Durrant said.

"Most of the kernels are plump and full and that's what we're looking for," he pointed out.

And that's good news because wheat is big business in Idaho.

"Wheat in Idaho still ranks third in line behind potatoes and hay," Durant said. "It's a main staple of everybody's diet."

And some icing on the cake this fall is the deal signed by Taiwan to buy $576 million of wheat from the United States over the next two years with most of it coming from idaho, North Dakota and Montana.

"The Taiwanese have been great partners and they love our wheat because we can consistently have that quality they are looking for," said Durrant.

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