Farmers in Oregon, Idaho and Washington are expected to harvest less wheat this summer. The weather forecast has a lot to do with it.
Blake Rowe of the Oregon Wheat Growers League said it was a drier than usual spring, especially east of the Cascades where much of the Northwest wheat crop is grown.
"When you have these dry conditions the crops ripen a little bit earlier and then harvest will start a little sooner," he explained. "That's not necessarily a good thing in this case because it's an indication that we haven't had the kind of moisture we need to have a really good crop."
But Rowe said the lower harvest isn't just due to the weather. Every year farmers shift emphasis from crop to crop to take advantage of market conditions. This year, farmers planted less wheat in all three Northwest states.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects this summer's harvest will be down 13 percent in Oregon, 9 percent in Idaho and 4 percent in Washington.