USDA Triticale Crop Insurance Program Coming

Lind, Wash., farmer James Wahl recently decided to grow triticale instead of wheat, so he’s interested in a federal crop insurance program for the crop, which is a cross between durum wheat and rye.

“It would take some of the stress of the risk out of it for us,” Wahl said.

The USDA Risk Management Agency will offer a pilot crop insurance program in several counties in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The program will be publicly released in the next month. The sales closing date will be Sept. 30.

The program will cover yield for both fall-planted and spring-planted triticale grown for grain, not for forage or a cover crop, said Ben Thiel, director of the agency’s Spokane regional office.

Interested growers will need to contact their crop insurance agent, Thiel said.

“Certain select growers have been trying (triticale) out and I think have found favorable results,” he said. “It seems to be well-adapted for this area, and has good rotational purposes. (A crop insurance program) has been asked about and desired for some time.”

Some private insurance programs are also available, said Howard Nelson, manager of member and special services with Central Washington Grain Growers in Wilbur, Wash. The company doubled its acreage this year.

CWG prices triticale at $105 per ton. The cost of production is close to the cost of production for wheat, Nelson said.

“It’s hard to gauge what growers are thinking in today’s price environment,” he said. “They’re looking for the crop that will return a profit. It just depends on what they feel is the best crop for a particular field.”

Nelson advises farmers to make sure they have storage and marketing set up for triticale.

“It’s an easy crop to grow,” he said. “Really the last piece of getting triticale re-established as a crop was the crop insurance piece. From this point on, it’s just another cropping option for growers in the area.”

Wahl said affordable crop insurance would give him peace of mind raising triticale.

It could open the door for farmers working with banks that don’t allow them to raise a crop without insurance, he said.

Wahl expects to sell most of his triticale at local elevators, holding back 50 tons for value-added and malting purposes.

Source: Capital Press

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