Grain on the Ground | VideoCliff Naylor | 8/20/2012
Elevators across North Dakota are being forced to pile grain on the ground because this year`s harvest is exceeding expectations. Many farmers like Joe Rippel are reporting that despite a hot and dry summer, the 2012 crop is producing excellent yields and some of the best quality wheat in years.
"It`s a little more than what we expected," he said.
With many farmers yielding 50 to 60 bushels an acre, elevators filled up fast.
"Once we started pulling off this 50-60 bushel wheat, obviously we didn`t have enough trains on order, that`s why we`re on the ground," said Jeff Mehl with South Central Grain.
Mehl estimates he`ll have to pile over 100,000 bushels of wheat on the ground before he`ll be able to get gain cars to move it to market. He says right now the grain transportation pipeline is bogged down because of the better than expected harvest in North Dakota, and ports like Duluth are already plugged with an overflow of Canadian wheat.
Mehl says it`s risky business storing wheat outside when grain prices are approaching nine-dollars a bushel.
"We piled four to five years ago when we had three and four dollar produce, today looking at 8 1/2 to nine dollars, it is risky."
This is the first time Rippel has ever had to unload a grain truck on the ground, but he`s confident this pile will be moved before moisture can damage it.
"It will get rain on it, but it will dry and kit kind`a seals itself I guess."
Extra grain cars are on order for this elevator, load and move the bumper crop that`s taken both farmers and elevators by surprise.
Another reason North Dakota elevators are filling up fast is because of an 80 percent increase in corn production by our state`s farmers. Corn takes more space to store than wheat or other small grains.