Sowing Time Upon Us In More Ways Than One

Wheat sowing is going full steam ahead in the “Breadbasket of the World.”

All time high prices point to record plantings in the wheat state, producer of nearly one-fifth of all wheat grown in the United States.  World production is down, and prices at Kansaselevators have been recorded at all time highs of over $8.65 a bushel. That’s sharply above the $5 market a year ago.

Months, and possibly years ahead, are optimistic as well, due to world wheat stocks being at a 34-year low. While we don’t understand technicality of it, Futures Markets indicate that wheat price will sure stay strong into next summer’s harvest.

Never a major crop at our place, wheat was sowed a few times as a cover crop for alfalfa and brome. We used to cast the seed across the field with our hand out of a bucket. For awhile, we had a little hand crank seeder with a canvas bag we swung over our shoulder.  Finally, we did get a steel-wheeled drill, with a small fertilizer box

Fall and spring horse pasture resulted, and we usually baled the wheat for horse hay, rather than threshing for grain. On occasion, the crop would mature, and we baled straw for cow feed, because the kernels in the hay made it unsuitable f or horse feed or bedding. We now use straw for bedding and to cover dirty stalls before a customer

First hands-on exposure to real wheat production was in the early ‘70s. We hauled grain to a Newtonelevator in a small pickup for our future father-in-law, Martin. Harvest was highlight of the year on their farm. Interestingly, harvest one time started the day our daughter was born and is often a benchmark for her birth in 1972.

Bread for our kitchen table is the first thing most people think of when wheat is mentioned. Bulk of wheat production is made into flour, main ingredient for bread. Kansasranks first in the nation in flour milling, gluten production and wheat stored.

Actually a versatile crop, wheat is used as livestock ration, when price is competitive with other feedstuffs. Not considered an appropriate horse feed, wheat is suitable for cattle and hog rations. We have fed wheat on limited occasions, and wheat middlings, coarse remains after flour production, are a regular cattle feed at our place.

Not only is wheat sowing key to agriculture production. It is essential for life as indicated in the Old Testament’s Hosea 10-12: “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”