Yield is about average to slightly better than average, Dufault says, but recent rains and cool, damp weather could be reducing wheat quality

    Although a 2019 wheat harvest blitz on a dry and windy Saturday in rural Crookston, which filled the rural landscape with blowing grain dust, might indicate otherwise, one local farmer reports that although this year’s wheat crop is average to slightly above average when it comes to yield, there’s a concern about the effect of recent rains on the quality of the crop.

    “Some area samples show low falling numbers,” Tim Dufault tells the Times. “Falling numbers,” he explains, is a measurement of dough strength of the flour made from the wheat sample. “Poor dough strength leads to breads that do not rise properly,” Dufault adds.

    The problem isn’t widespread, at least not yet, he stressed. “But it’s severe enough that many elevators are checking each load for falling numbers,” he added.

    This year’s growing season has been marked by consistent rains. That’s good, Dufault said, but when significant rains fall as the wheat is nearing full maturation and the moisture is coupled with some cool, damp days, it could lead to quality issues.

    Monday and Tuesday are to be cool and damp before things dry out and warm up a bit later in the week and into the weekend.

    “It’s the timing of the rain coming right as the wheat is fully matured,” Dufault explained. “The seed in the wheat head stays wet and quality issues start. If the head gets a chance to dry out it might not get affected, but we have had some cool, damp days in the last two weeks to cause this.”