Wheat crop down, could raise prices of food

BUCYRUS, Kan. - As Nick Guetterman looks at his 18 inch stalk of wheat crop, he almost feels guilty his plants are doing well compared to other farmers west of him.

“The wheat is dark green. It's got all the nutrients it needs," Guetterman said. "Hamburger buns, wheat, bread, whatever you put flour in is what wheat goes in."

Guetterman Brothers Family Farms in Bucyrus, Kan., which is about 35 miles south of Kansas City, has moist soil and green plants. Currently, the Kansas Wheat Tour is looking at Guetterman Brothers, as well as other farmers around the state, to assess this year's crop.

Seventy-five farmers, millers, bakers and other industry professionals toured the entire state of Kansa-- the largest supplier of wheat in the county for baking flour and bread. The Sunflower State also exports hard red winter wheat to China, Brazil and Mexico.

Tweets sent by some of the farmers and others in the wheat industry indicate some farms could yield as little as 25 bushels.

"When a farmer doesn't have bushels, he doesn't have a crop to grow, it's a financial challenge. Not only a financial challenge for that farmer but also for that rural community," Justin Gilbin, CEO of the Kansas Wheat Commission, said.

It's highly likely prices for bread and flour will increase.

"We didn't have any of the huge numbers that we normally have in the middle of the state from Salina to Wichita to the Nebraska border," Ben Handcock of the Wheat Quality Council said.

While Guetterman's crop has had plenty of rain, he does face a different problem. He said he is looking at 60 to 70 bushels this year, which is lower than in 2013 but better than some other Kansas farmers.

"I think we will be down here more because of the wet fall and cold winter," he said.

Even his numbers look lower than than last year.

Experts predict the harvest should be ready in approximately 60 days.

The tour wrapped up in Kansas City Thursday afternoon.

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