KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, US — Combines still rolling this week in northwest and north-central Kansas represented the final stretch for the 2022 hard winter wheat harvest in the top US production state. Nebraska and Colorado harvests were respectively about one-third and one-fourth completed by July 10, the US Department of Agriculture said in its latest Crop Progress report, which indicated South Dakota and Montana growers had just barely initiated combining. 

Harvest completion by July 10 was 95% in Kansas (83% a week earlier, 86% as the 2017-21 average for the date), 100% in Oklahoma (98%, 98%), 97% in Texas (94%, 94%), 28% in Colorado (8%, 40%), 36% in Nebraska (22%, 32%), 10% in South Dakota (0%, 9%) and 1% in Montana (0%, 1%).

Some northwest Kansas farmers had about a week of harvest remaining and some north-central Kansas growers were waiting for humidity to drop and wheat to dry down after recent showers, Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer of Kansas Wheat, wrote on July 8. By that date, it was clear the state’s 2022 crop was smaller than in 2021 and fell below the recent average total production by 15% to 20%, he said. 

“The themes with this harvest remain consistent, with yields varying widely to the extremes from zeroed out to above 70 bus per acre,” he said, “but seemingly the state could average close to where the USDA forecast Kansas at 39 bushels per acre. If I had to guess if they adjust that number in the August report, odds are it is increased slightly, but not by more than a bushel or two.”

Quality-wise, the 2022 hard red winter wheat crop looks to be in good shape with most of the samples so far pulled from Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Plains Grains, Inc., in a July 8 harvest report, said that with 233 samples from those three states tested (of an expected 500 from across the growing area) the crop averaged 13.2% protein (11.9% in 2021), 30 grams in thousand-kernel weight (30.5 grams), 297 seconds in falling number (372 seconds) and 60.8 pounds per bushel in test weight (60.4 pounds). The average grade was No. 1 hard red winter wheat, the same as in 2021. 

The Kansas wheat crop “looks to be a very favorable, marketable crop with test weights above 60 pounds per bushel, with stronger numbers early before recent rains, and some sub-60-pound test weights afterward,” Gilpin said. “Proteins look to be averaging a little better than 12%, with some 11%, 12%, 13%, and some extremes.”

Meanwhile, the 2022 US spring wheat crop in the north was developing nicely after a delayed and elongated planting period. The USDA said the crop as of July 10 was 70% in good to excellent condition, up from 66% a week earlier and compared with 16% a year ago as drought ravaged the 2021 crop. Good-to-excellent conditions were 82% in North Dakota (76% a week earlier), 66% in South Dakota (68%), 69% in Minnesota (77%), 44% in Montana (36%), 68% in Idaho (65%) and 96% in Washington (94%).