Kansas winter wheat harvest ahead of average pace

by Ron Sterk
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KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, U.S. — Kansas winter wheat was 23% harvested as of June 17, up from 2% a week earlier and ahead of 19% at the same time last year and 11% as the 2013-17 average for the date, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its weekly Crop Progress report issued June 18.

Wheat yet to be harvested was rated 18% good to excellent, 36% fair and 46% poor to very poor, the USDA said. The crop was 64% mature compared with 57% a year ago and was 94% colored, even with last year and ahead of 88% as the average.

Atchison county farmer Jay Armstrong said he completed harvest on June 18 with an average yield of 61 bushels per acre and an average test weight of 59 pounds per bushel, Kansas Wheat said in its Day 6, Kansas Wheat Harvest Report issued late June 18.

 “We did have small kernels this year which made it difficult to set the combine,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong said he was especially impressed with the Kansas Wheat Alliance variety Zenda, which stood well through some heavy rains.

“Our basis here was at 5¢ per bushel,” Armstrong said. “I can’t remember when I saw a basis that narrow at harvest.”

Jenny Goering, a McPherson country farmer, said her family completed the first leg of harvest on June 16 and would head to western Kansas June 19 to begin combining in Kearny county. She noted damage from late season frost in the McPherson country acres, with yields ranging from 30 to 32 bushels per acre and test weights from 60 to 62 pounds per bushel.

“Those frosts hurt our crop really badly, especially after it had just barely survived with the drought,” Goering said. “There were a few days in April that just really hurt those yields.”

Craig Bennett, general manager of Farmers Coop in Abbyville, Kansas, U.S., said his location took in the first load of wheat on June 8 and that harvest now was about 95% completed in the area.

“It’s gone pretty fast,” Bennett said. “We had a few sprinkles this afternoon (June 18), but that hasn’t slowed them down any.”

April freezes also affected acres and yields near Abbyville, Bennett said, but yields in the area were better than expected although lower than average. Test weights were near 60 pounds per bushel, and protein was running at 12% and above.

“Late frosts really hurt some of the varieties out there, but some of them held up pretty well, all things considered,” Bennett told Kansas Wheat.

Winter wheat in Oklahoma was 73% harvested as of June 17, even with a year ago and ahead of 51% as the prior five-year average, and Texas wheat was 65% combined, behind 74% at the same time last year but ahead of 55% as the average. Harvest had not yet begun in other key hard red winter wheat states.

The Kansas harvest may be followed on Twitter at #wheatharvest18.

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