Columbia wheat harvest looks promising

Wheat harvest is getting started in the Mid-Columbia and officials are optimistic about what they see. "It's going to be a good quality year," said Damon Filan, manager of Tri-Cities Grain. Harvest is about on time this year, he said, and business is starting to pick up.

It's hard to tell at this early stage what yields farmers will get this year, said Tom Mick, CEO of the Washington Wheat Commission. But "the winter crops look very good," he said.

Many of the state's 2.1 million acres of wheat land produce soft white wheat, but farmers also grow hard red winter and hard red spring wheat, Mick said.

Chris Shaffer of Walla Walla is a long-time wheat farmer and grows mostly soft white wheat. The cooler spring weather this year could produce a slightly higher than average yield, he said.