Kansas winter wheat harvest approaches completion

by Matt Noltemeyer
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Producers who spoke to Kansas Wheat for its Day 16 harvest report said the winter wheat harvest in Kansas was proceeding swiftly with wildly varying yields, high proteins and better-than-expected test weights.

“I noticed for this year our test weights are high, along with our proteins,” said Lane Patmon, manager of Frontier Ag Inc. in Seguin, Kansas, U.S. “Most years our tests weights are lighter, and our proteins are higher. This year they both are higher together.”

The Sheridan County location, which took its first load on June 28, reported yields ranging from 10 to 60 bushels per acre and test weights ranging from 56.5 to 63 pounds per bushel. Patmon said with the surrounding area about 95% harvested, proteins averaged around 13.4%. He said this is the first year the facility has tested for proteins.

For the state of Kansas, winter wheat was 92% harvested as of July 8, ahead of near 90% a year ago, and ahead of 85% as the recent five-year average for the date, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its July 9 Crop Progress Report.

Further east in Jewell County, Randall, Kansas, U.S., farmer Bill Spiegel wrapped up his harvest on June 24, and reported yields of 55 to 60 bushels per acre compared with 65 to 70 bushels as normal. Spiegel attributed the losses to dryness after an October-to-April drought followed by rain showers that lowered surprisingly good test weights.

“In one rain storm we got three inches of rain and by the time they got back into the field they lost about one to three pounds of test weight,” he said. “It was one of those harvests where we are glad to have it done.

“The crop didn't look good from the beginning. It turned out better than expected, but our expectations were really low to begin with. Every year is different and with each year we go out with the best situation planned.

“The rain produced weeds in the fields as well, but we got it all done, and we are ready to start planning for the 2019 wheat harvest.”

The Kansas Wheat Commission produces the harvest reports in a joint effort with the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association.

As the Kansas harvest nears completion, more hot weather is in store according to weather experts’ tweets July 10:

  • WIBW channel 13 in Topeka, Kansas, U.S.: “It was ‘nice’ while it lasted but we’re back in the triple digits today with a heat index 100-104 today.”
  • Meteorologist Nick Bender of KMBC channel 9 in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S., said a heat advisory is in effect until Friday.
  • The National Weather Service field office in Goodland, Kansas, U.S.: “Another dry, hot day with ample sunshine for the entire region. Expect this pattern to continue through Wednesday.”
  • The NWS office in Wichita, Kansas, U.S.: “Isolated storms possible this afternoon across southern Kansas. Very warm with highs in the 90s.”

Weather over the past three weeks has had some destructive effects on the Kansas wheat crop. Hail storms in western Kansas have led to wide variances in yields from field to field.

“We received a lot of hail in the area, losing anywhere from 750,000 to one million bus of wheat this harvest,” said Eric Sperber, manager of Cornerstone Ag LLC in Colby, Kansas, U.S. “There were some fields that were zeroed out and some that were in the mid-70s, but the average was about 30 to 40 bushels per acre.”

Sperber said despite five hailstorms since June 19 — the latest coming July 7 — harvest in the area was 80% to 90% complete and one of the fastest in the region after receiving their first load on June 27. He said the crop was above average in quality, with “excellent” test weights averaging 61 pounds per bushel, and proteins mostly 12.5% and higher.

 “Overall, the crop has good quality; unfortunately, we lost fields due to the hail storms,” he said.

Stay apprised of #wheatharvest18 progress in Kansas and elsewhere by searching the hashtag on Twitter. Producers this week tweeted about wheat harvest in Ellis and Osborne counties in Kansas; McCook, Nebraska, U.S.; Kimball, South Dakota, U.S.; Gagetown, Michigan, U.S.; Pointe-aux-Roches, Ontario, Canada; and Champagne-Ardenne, France.

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