Northwest Farmers Plant Wheat In Dust, Hope For Rain

Oct 4, 2012

Most of us may be enjoying the fall sunshine, but Northwest wheat farmers are instead wishing for a little rain. Correspondent Anna King caught up with one Northwest wheat grower in the vast Horse Heaven Hills near Prosser, Washington.

Nicole Berg digs her clean-up-to-now nails into the dry crusty soil on her farm.

Berg: “Seeing any moisture yet?”

About four to five inches down, there still isn’t any hint of past rain.

A few farmers did get some showers. Despite high-tech forecasts, Berg says often knowing when to plant still comes down to a hunch, decades of experience and an old wheat farmer adage.

Berg: “On a good year, yes we’d be seeding right now. But I think it’s like three out of ten years the Horse Heavens have a tendency to just dust it in and try and bust our bin.”

“Busting the bin” means harvesting a bumper crop. The National Weather service says now through December the Northwest will likely see below normal precipitation.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio