Combines are rolling quickly along the plains as farmers prepare for rains that may stall their harvest progress. Many areas in south central and eastern Kansas have harvested their final acres, but the race against rain is well under way in western, central and north central portions of the state. While this precipitation is welcome for those who have fall crops, it’s too little, too late for the 2018 Kansas wheat crop.
Jennifer Princ, manager of the Midway Coop Association in Luray, reported that they received their first load on June 14 and are currently around 30 percent complete with the area’s harvest. This year’s yields are averaging around 35-40 bushels per acre, but Princ has heard reports of yields as low as 20 and as high as 67. Princ estimates the final average yield will be well below the area’s normal yield average of 45-50 bushels per acre.
While yields have fallen, Princ said that the average test weight is 61 pounds per bushel. Proteins are averaging 12.4 percent, 1.2 percent higher than 2017.
Lack of moisture isn’t the only thing holding back this year’s crop. Princ said her farmers are reporting quite a few white heads in fields caused by several late freezes. In addition, while ripe wheat is being harvested quickly, there is a bit of green wheat still out in the field.
“There’s still quite a bit of green wheat in some of the fields out there,” said Princ. “If we don’t get the rain that was predicted this week, we’ll probably have some guys who have to stall and wait for their wheat to dry down. It all just varies with variety and plant date.”
Randy Acker, manager of the Meade Coop Elevator in Meade, reports that the area is around 90 percent harvested. If they don’t receive rain, they will wrap up in about two or three days. His location took in its first load on June 9.
“This year will be a short harvest in duration and a short harvest in receipts,” reported Acker. “We didn’t catch enough rain to raise a wheat crop but I am surprised by the quality.”
The Meade Coop Elevator is averaging about 60 pounds per bushel in test weight. While there was no substantial disease pressure in the area, weeds in fields may quickly become a serious issue for farmers who aren’t finished harvesting.
“If it rains, some acres may have to be abandoned because of the excessive weed growth,” said Acker. “Some things you can control, but weather isn’t one of them.”
Terry Mohl, location manager of United Prairie Ag in Hugoton, reported the area is about 50 percent harvested. Mohl said he thinks this year’s yields will be considerably less than average – not great, but better than expected. He expects that when the last bushel has been brought into his location, they will have taken in about half the total bushels they would in an average year. The wheat is averaging 60 pounds per bushel for test weight, and protein is averaging close to 12. Mohl also showed concern for the lack of precipitation in the area.
“We went half a year without any measurable precipitation,” said Mohl. “We have 10 days of harvest left if we don’t get any weather, but the clouds are building up now. It won’t do us any good for our wheat, but the rest of our crops could sure use a drink.”
Kansas Grain & Feed Association, the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Association of Wheat Growers provide updates of the Kansas wheat harvest. Today’s update is the seventh report of the 2018 harvest.