The Birkett Mills reports that is filled all it fits contracts for the 2017 growing season. As a consequence, New York growers who do not yet have a contract will not be able to use buckwheat as a catch crop.
This is the first time in memory that all of the contracts have been filled early, and local growers turned away. The cause is a combination of a healthy carryover from last year’s large crop, and increased demand as many corn and soybean acres were too wet to plant.
Overall demand for buckwheat is up. Food manufacturers are expanding their offerings of gluten-free foods, whole grains, and unusual grains. Buckwheat is on the ingredient list on far more boxes in the store than kasha and pancake mix! In the big picture, New York growers play an important role in supplying this expanding part of the market.
Buckwheat is still valuable as a cover crop for soil improvement and weed suppression between now and fall during planting.
Professor of Vegetable Crop Physiology
Section of Horticulture
Geneva, NY 14456