Soggy spring boosts harvest

A wet spring boosted the winter wheat harvest this year, leading to a better than average yield for the region's farmers.

Washington's winter wheat production was up 22 percent compared to last year, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The state's crop was 118 million bushels.

A drought in Russia that wiped out its massive crop caused that country to suspend exports until the end of the year. That did boost prices in the summer, but they have fallen some in recent months, according to Brent Blankenship, president of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers.

Blankenship said the extra spring rain helped swell the harvest in Franklin and Adams counties.

However, not all area farmers felt the boost from spring rains.

Anne Legg, who farms 4,000 acres just south of Prosser with her stepfather, Keith Burkhart, said the rains passed them by. She doesn't have final numbers on the crop yet, but didn't think the harvest was larger than usual.

"It was a so-so year," Legg said. "It wasn't the worst year, and it wasn't the best."

She said the area where they farm was bypassed by the big rains, but did get some late-in-the-season rain that helped the crop.