“Well, we plant primarily grain, corn is our major crop, and you know for us, we have the equipment to harvest it, and that’s one reason we do stick with grain, and it works well with the rotation with the milo and the wheat and we don’t have to have a custom harvester come in and gather it for us.”
Larry Hoelscher, Jr. is a grain farmer in Westphalia.
“We usually start toward the end of October into November planting wheat. Usually it takes us two to three weeks and we’ll harvest starting end of May into June depends on the weather, a lot of times you know, how far it ripens and how soon it gets ready.”
We asked if wheat presented any special challenges.
“Weather has the biggest factor on wheat. A lot of this wheat in our area, it didn't come up until after January, the middle of January, when we got a six inch rain and driving around you can see that where we have some wheat that’s probably eight or ten inches tall and then there’s a lot of wheat in the field that’s not but two or three inches tall.”
We were a little surprised to learn that cold weather helps increase wheat yields.
“Wheat is supposed to have twenty to thirty hours of cold hours which is freezing or below, and that enhances the wheat to produce, and a lot of this wheat that came up after January fifteenth, it just hasn't had that.”
And like every other crop, you just don’t know how well it did until you harvest it.
“You know, that’s something we’re going to have to see. It’s hard to tell until you run a combine through it.”
So the next time you’re making your favorite sandwich, you might have Larry Hoelscher to thank for growing the wheat it took to make the bread.