There’s gold in Idaho’s wheat fields, and above average yields in the southeast Idaho wheat harvest for 2020 could be good news for the local economy.

Juliet Marshall, University of Idaho cereal agronomist and plant pathologist, said that the 2020 wheat season was much better than she anticipated.

“I really was expecting some diseases to come in, especially the stripe rust, but luckily it didn’t come in and it didn’t have any impact on the harvest yield,” Marshall said.

She said that this year’s wheat crop benefited from a long, relatively cool growing season for excellent grain fill followed by hot temperatures that allowed the grain to dry down.

Conditions were so arid that was very little sprout damage according to Marshall.

“Good test weight, good plumb, not a lot of diseases so overall really good conditions for the harvest,” Marshall said. “In some areas really high yields went with good management. So, we’re looking at a good year.”

On the final weekend of August, Aberdeen farmers, Ritchey Toevs and his son, Will, were completing their wheat harvest.

“We had some frost damage in the earliest winter wheat but spring wheat seemed to be above average,” Ritchey Toevs said.

“It’s been a great harvest season,” he said. “It looks like a nice crop to have stored away.”

Will Toevs called this year’s wheat harvest a “better than average crop.”

“We’re seeing near record yields in northern Idaho and average to above average yields in the rest of the state,” said Casey Chumrau, executive director of the Idaho Wheat Commission.