Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Northwest Wheat Harvest Starts Up, Likely A 'Bin Buster'

Monday marked the start of the Northwest’s bin-busting wheat harvest. Last year was big, but this year’s wet winter and spring has poured on the yields.

Damon Filan manages Tri-Cities Grain on the banks of the Snake River. He takes grain up to 100 miles away, and all his farmers say they are looking at a record year.

“Could be one of the biggest [crops] that the Pacific Northwest has raised,” Filan said.

Filan said prices are up too. Montana and the Dakotas are in drought, so their yields are down. And that’s raised payouts on the big three types that Northwest growers raise. Some are up $1 per bushel just in the last month.

About 300 semi-trucks per day dump grain at Filan’s outfit at the peak of harvest. That’s 16-hour shifts for about six weeks.

Filan said he has already ordered extra combines, trucks and barges to get all this golden grain downriver to Portland—then across the globe.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.