Record wheat harvest for 2008 dented by fuel prices

Lawton_Oklahoma farmers say they are seeing the best crops that they have in years during the 2008 winter wheat harvest time in the southwest.  Although it's been a great crop, and wheat prices are up, farmers may not see the profits they would like.

Thanks to all of the good weather, farmers are seeing amber waves of grain, but rising gas prices are cutting their profits, and the harvest is keeping the co-ops busy.  General Manager Charlie Swanson says trucks have been hauling wheat all day long, and the grain elevators in Chattanooga and Grandfield are nearly full.  "Everything's going real good so far this year," he says.  "Actually the crop this year is excellent...probably the best we've ever had in Southwest Oklahoma."

The Lawton Co-Op is already at 200,000 bushels, which is more than double what they saw last year at this time.  In 2007, all three co-ops combined had only 1.8 million bushels total.  "This year we're over 2 million already, and we've still got another 500,000 or a million left in the fields," says Swanson.

However, even with the increased harvest, wheat farmer Gary Goodin says that high fuel costs - at a $4 per gallon mark - will take a big chunk from his profits.  "Today, I got 400 gallons for the tractors, and it cost us $1,600," he said.  "This year, I think, we're gonna break out about even, with the fuel prices and everything."  Farmer Marvin Wyatt says his 2,000 acres should prove to be his best and most profitable crop yet.  "When it gets all said and done, we'll have a good picture, hopefully."

Although some crops have seen some damage due to the weather, most farmers agree that this is the best crop they have seen in a long time.  They say that the harvest is so good, some grain elevators can't handle the load.  In Tillman County, they are backed up.  They're waiting for train cars and trucks to take their final product to their suppliers for sale.

Count on 7News to follow the harvest to the north.