Spring rain makes wheat farmers' optimism grow

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Kennewick -- Earlier this spring, the hard red wheat that Berg Farms grows in the Horse Heaven Hills wasn't looking so good.

Then came the rains.

Now farmer Nicole Berg is expecting an average wheat crop, which should make it a good year.

As Berg and other Tri-Cities area wheat farmers get ready to harvest, their crop may be worth a little more.

The price of wheat rose recently thanks to field corn and wheat suffering in the Midwest after a drought and bad weather, said Glen Squires, interim CEO of the Washington Grain Commission. Wheat prices tend to follow corn.

A tight field corn market has caused more wheat to be used for feed, Squires said.

Like Berg, most Washington farmers are expecting a pretty good year. Wheat yields in Washington, Oregon and Idaho are expected to be a little over the five-year average, Squires said.

About 310 million to 315 million bushels of wheat may be harvested this year in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, Squires said.