Tag Archives: wheat

Wheat acres in Kansas will likely be lower than last year, possibly reaching 100-year lows in the state. Last year’s 7.7 million planted acres were the third lowest in a century.
Abnormal weather patterns in October and November contributed to the decrease in acres planted. According to the Kansas Mesonet, there was record precipitation throughout the state in October and below average temperatures in November.
This has led to the state being essentially drought-free for the first time in years, but it also kept farmers out of the fields during fall harvest and wheat drilling time.
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that for the week ending December 2, 2018, topsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 4 short, 76 adequate, and 20 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 6 short, 83 adequate, and 11 surplus. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows drought conditions in Kansas on November 27, 2018 of only 6.2% abnormally dry and 0.5% in moderate drought. None of the state is in severe drought or worse.
USDA/NASS also reports that fall harvest is mostly complete, with corn harvest at 96%, soybean harvest at 95% and grain sorghum harvest at 89%.
But, wheat should’ve been planted by the end of October in most areas of the state, and at that time, soybean harvest was only 63% complete and grain sorghum harvest was only 49% complete. This kept farmers from planting wheat behind soybeans in a common double-crop situation.
At the November 29 board meeting of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and Kansas Wheat Commission, farmer board members reported on wheat planted acreage in their areas this fall.
In West Central/Southwest Kansas, Rick Horton, who farms in Wichita and Kearney Counties, reported that the moisture profile in the area is good. While wheat acreage overall might be up a little in the area, traditional fallow acres are still down about the same as last year.
Ron Suppes, who farms in Lane County, reported that acres are down a little in his area, but some farmers were still trying to drill wheat at the end of November. He said that there is still some grain sorghum left to cut and that most of the wheat is emerged.
In Northwest Kansas, Brian Linin, who farms in Sherman County, reported that acres are similar to the past, and the wheat looks really good. He shared that there is uncharacteristic moisture in the area and the snow is just a boost to that moisture. He did share a concern about the likelihood of Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus in the area.
Chris Tanner, who farms in Norton County, estimates that fall harvest is only 60% complete in the county. He said wheat acres are down, but early planted wheat looks nice. He said farmers were still drilling wheat in the area as of the end of November.
In North Central Kansas, Mike McClellan, who farms in Rooks County, estimates that wheat acres are down 1/3 from last year. He said that farmers weren’t able to get many wheat acres in behind soybeans.
Mike Jordan, who farms in Mitchell County, agreed. He said most people would have had to stop harvesting fall crops to plant wheat, so he estimates acres will be down 25% in Mitchell County.
In Central Kansas, David Radenberg from Barton County reported that acres are also down in his area, and that grain sorghum harvest is not complete.
Doug Keesling, who farms in Rice County, agreed that acres are down in central Kansas, estimating a decrease of 5-15% from last year. He reported that most of the decrease came from acres that were to be planted behind soybeans, because farmers weren’t able to get their beans harvested and wheat planted.
Justin Knopf, who farms in Saline County, estimates acres planted will be only 60-70% of last year, mostly because they didn’t get planted behind soybeans.
Ken Wood, who farms in Dickenson County, estimates that acres are down 25-30%, stating that farmers gave up on planting wheat because of the poor weather conditions. All four central Kansas farmers reported that they are still finishing up soybean and grain sorghum harvest in the area.
In South Central Kansas, John Hildebrand, who farms in Stafford County, reported that the early planted wheat in the area doesn’t look very good, and that late planted wheat is not yet emerged. He said wheat acres are down, and there is still grain sorghum left to cut.
Scott Van Allen, who farms in Sedgwick and Summer Counties, reported that early planted wheat in his area looks nice, and the late planted is only 1/2″ tall. He said that there was no double crop wheat planted behind soybeans in his area, estimating that acres are down 5-10%. There are still soybeans and grain sorghum left to cut.
In Northeast Kansas, Jay Armstrong, who farms in Atchison County, reported that wheat looks good in his area and that acres are up a little over last year.
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that for the week ending December 2, 2018, winter wheat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 13 poor, 39 fair, 35 good, and 10 excellent. Winter wheat emerged was 89 percent.
K-State Research and Extension reports that leaf rust is causing problems for some wheat producers in Kansas this fall with reports of wide spread infections in volunteer wheat and the early planted fields in western and central regions of the state. They also report that the sudden, sharp drop in temperatures across Kansas observed in the early part of November 2018 could have different consequences to the wheat crop, varying from no impact to some injury in particular fields. This injury could depend on the amount of snow on the surface and the amount of moisture in the soil, which serves as a buffer against cold temperatures.
With all the wheat crop has already endured, we are still a couple weeks away from the beginning of winter, and the condition of the 2019 wheat crop will continue to evolve until harvest next summer. While planted acres are down overall, at least the crop has the opportunity to begin its fragile life with adequate moisture.

LAS VEGAS, /PRNewswire/ — The Water Systems Council (WSC) has signed a five-year memorandum of understanding with the National Groundwater Association (NGWA) that provides a foundation for collaboration on future joint projects and initiatives.

WSC executive director Margaret Martens and NGWA CEO Terry S. Morse, CIC, signed the MOU following the first day of the Groundwater Summit in Las Vegas.

WSC and NGWA leadership participated in a strategy session in early November at NGWA headquarters in Westerville, Ohio, to develop joint visionary goals that include:

  • Advocate and defend property owners’ rights to access groundwater.
  • Develop a strategy to maintain the labor force.
  • Assure implementation of wells and aquifers as a safe, reliable, and cost-effective solution to the nation’s water infrastructure.

“WSC and NGWA have historically worked together on issues of joint interest as strong advocates for the water well industry and groundwater professionals,” said Martens. “This MOU further formalizes our partnership and brings new resources to our efforts to promote, protect and defend water well systems and groundwater rights.”

NGWA President David Henrich, CWD/PI, CVCLD, noted that the signing of the MOU “is a great step in the right direction. NGWA and WSC working more closely together will provide even more support for the groundwater industry. WSC President Richard Mest was instrumental in keeping the momentum going to push this initiative across the finish line. I personally appreciate all the volunteers that have helped us build to this moment.”

The National Groundwater Association is a community of groundwater professionals working together to advance groundwater knowledge and the success of its members through education and outreach, advocacy, cooperation and information exchange, and enhancement of professional practices.

The Water Systems Council is the only national, nonprofit organization solely focused on household wells and small water well systems. WSC is committed to ensuring that Americans who get their water from household private wells have safe, reliable drinking water and to protecting our nation’s groundwater resources.

For more information, visit watersystemscouncil.org.

A 202.53-bushel wheat yield and a third consecutive win in the National Wheat Yield Contest would satisfy many growers, but Phillip Gross still sees room for improvement.

“I think by increasing seed population and trying to encourage more tillers in the fall, we could have done better,” the Warden, Washington, grower told DTN. Each year, Gross paces his fields, scrutinizing tillering, pollination, spikelet number, kernel size, disease and insect pressure, as well as taking tissue and soil samples to check nutrient levels. “I personally think this is only half of its yield potential,” he said of his winning irrigated winter wheat variety, LCS Jet.

But Gross, like the contest’s sponsor, the National Wheat Foundation (NWF), has a lot more than big numbers on his mind.

“Quality is extremely important,” he said. “We don’t want to flood the market with cheap feed wheat and lose our edge in the export market.”

To that end, NWF has changed the contest to include a quality component this year. To be eligible for competition, wheat entries had to be Grade 1 or 2, the grades required for food-grade wheat. They were also tested for a variety of components, such as protein, test weight, falling number, hardness and 1,000 kernel weight.

The results were eye-opening, said Steve Joehl, director of research and technology at the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and director of the contest for the NWF.

Of the 163 wheat entries analyzed, only 11 didn’t make Grade 1 or 2. Milling quality was high and protein levels held strong among even the highest-yielding fields, he said.

“Some people are concerned that if you drive yield, you will do it at the sacrifice of quality,” Joehl said. “What we’re seeing from these test results is we had really good production of high-quality wheat, and if I were a miller, I’d be camping out next to every one of these winners asking to buy their wheat.”

In addition to the high yield award, the contest recognizes national and state yield winners in four categories: dryland winter wheat, irrigated winter wheat, dryland spring wheat and irrigated spring wheat.

These category winners are calculated not by raw yield numbers, but by the percentage they yield above their county’s five-year average. This puts growers from a wide variety of geographies and soil types on a more even playing field, Joehl noted. For example, several entries brushed close to 200 bushels per acre (bpa) but didn’t place first in their category because their yield wasn’t quite as far from their county’s norm as lower-yielding entries.

This year the top national winners for each category were:

IRRIGATED WINTER WHEAT: Ken Horton, of Horton Seed Services in Leoti, Kansas, for a 111.28-bpa field in Kearny County, 312% above the county average, with WB-Cedar, from WestBred.

DRYLAND WINTER WHEAT: Travis Freeburg, of R&K Farms in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, for a 124.46-bpa field in Kimball County, Nebraska, 398% above the county average, with SY Monument, from AgriPro.

IRRIGATED SPRING WHEAT: Larry Carroll, of Holzapfel Ranch in Hermiston, Oregon, for a 158.93-bpa field in Morrow County, 413% above the county average, with Expresso, from WestBred.

DRYLAND SPRING WHEAT: Jon Wert, of Wert Farms in New England, North Dakota, for a 103.98-bpa field in Hettinger County, 126% above the county average, with LCS Trigger, from Limagrain.


As the scrappy, resourceful relative to its prima donna cousin, corn, wheat can sometimes get short shrift when it comes to crop management. The wheat yield contest was designed to show that when farmers take time to scout and apply fertilizer, nutrients, fungicides and insecticides at just the right time, the crop shines.

Even after supplementing his winter wheat with nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur, based on carefully timed tissue and soil tests, Gross was astonished at the kernels from his winning winter wheat field.

“The kernel size was just huge — they were humongous and heavy,” he said. “You could take two or three small or semi-filled kernels and fit them in the same area as these big, plump ones. That was a pleasant surprise.”

Nor did the quality suffer; the field’s milling characteristics were excellent and protein held to a respectable 11.8.

Like Gross, the contest’s other national yield winners are devoted to their wheat fields. “When that crop asks for something, be prepared,” said Carroll, of his Oregon spring wheat fields. “It’s going to talk to you; you just have to listen.”

Carroll “listens” via biweekly petiole tissue tests during the growing season. If the petioles say they need micronutrients, he runs that through his sprayer and applies it to the foliage. This year, his winning field got liquid cow manure in the fall, on top of nutrients and fungicide in the spring.

Scouting is a chore to some, but not to Wert, who grows spring wheat in North Dakota.

“What I love to do is walk my fields,” he said. “It’s my favorite thing to do all summer.” That diligence allowed him to knock down weeds like kochia and wild oats promptly, stave off disease with multiple fungicide passes and save on insecticide this year — and win best dryland spring wheat yield in the country.


The wheat contest draws applicants from all over the country — from the Pacific Northwest to the Dakotas and down to the southern Great Plains.

But each winner interviewed scarcely hesitated when asked what the biggest challenge for their winning wheat fields was: water.

Some, like Gross and Carroll, have aquifers lurking under their fields to feed pivots; others, like Wert, depend on unpredictable rainfall from the skies.

This year, Wert’s North Dakota dryland spring wheat fields were helped along by good soil moisture in the spring, and an unusually wet June. But when the big spigot in the sky turned off on July 2, and no more rain fell before harvest, Wert credits his family’s four-decade devotion to no-till with nursing the bin-buster crop along.

“No-till absolutely helps hold moisture in the soil,” he said. “North Dakota State University says you can see five to seven bushels produced with every inch of rainfall, so when we’re a couple inches short, that extra soil moisture makes a big difference.”

Even the majority of Gross’ irrigated winter wheat fields have sparse access to water.

The Odessa Aquifer his operation pulls from is dropping lower every year, and the region’s farmers have state-regulated water meters tracking and limiting their water use.

“Farmers here are actually preserving their water for high-value crops such as potatoes and onions,” Gross said. “Wheat, which is a rotation crop for us, just gets what’s left over.”

For Carroll, the timing of his irrigation water is his most important wheat management tool. “Water usage at flowering time will make or break a wheat kernel,” he said.

His soils turn to sand about 2.5 feet down, so Carroll can’t depend on soil moisture storage to feed the wheat plant at flowering, and like Gross, he has a meter-limited water supply.

“When the wheat is just starting to flower, you have to make sure the moisture profile is full,” he said. “You have to walk out for days and watch ahead of time.”


The decision to test wheat entries for quality components this year added a lot of work for the contest organizers. But Joehl expects it to pay huge dividends in the years to come.

“What’s unique about this contest is farmers have to put down every little management practice — planting date, fertility, variety, and more,” he explained. “So every sample we have — and its quality results — is correlated to those management practices.”

In just a few years, the contest should be able to use that aggregated data to make interesting conclusions on how each management practice affects crucial milling and baking characteristics like protein and falling number, Joehl said.

“That’s a lot of data power,” he said.

Those results will be a welcome source of information both to contestants and the larger wheat industry, said Gross.

“I hope it will really encourage growers to focus more on quality and not just yield by itself,” he said. “Wheat acres are really dwindling and in order to keep the markets we do have, we need to make sure that our buyers know that they’re getting a premium quality.”

You can find more details on the National Wheat Yield Contest and its winners from NWF here: https://wheatfoundation.org/….

The nation’s row-crop harvest and winter wheat planting progress slowed last week, USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Tuesday. The report is normally released on Mondays but was delayed this week due to Veterans Day.

Listen to Clay Patton with the report here: https://post.futurimedia.com/krvnam/playlist/crop-progress-report-1113-5473.html

As of Sunday, Nov. 11, 88% of the nation’s soybeans were harvested, up just 5 percentage points from the previous week. That was 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93%.

States with a significant amount of the soybean crop still in the field included Missouri with 30% of its soybeans still unharvested, Kansas with 26% of its crop unharvested and Arkansas with 22% of its soybeans still in the field, noted DTN Analyst Todd Hultman.

Corn harvest ended the week at 84% complete, up 8 percentage points from the previous week. Harvest lagged last year by 3 percentage points and was 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 87%. Seventeen percent of the crop was still unharvested in Iowa, and 23% of Nebraska’s corn was still in the field, Hultman noted.

Winter wheat progress also remained behind normal last week. Eighty-nine percent of the crop was planted as of Sunday, behind last year’s 94% and also behind the five-year average of 94%. Winter wheat emerged, at 77%, was behind both last year’s pace of 83% and the average pace of 83%.

“Winter wheat planting reached 90% in Kansas, but is only 65% in Arkansas and 72% in Missouri,” Hultman said.

NASS estimated 54% of the nation’s winter wheat was in good-to-excellent condition, up 3 percentage points from 51% the previous week.

Seventy-three percent of the sorghum crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind 81% last year and 11 percentage points behind the five-year average of 84%.

Ninety-six percent of cotton had bolls opening as of Sunday, behind the average of 98%. Fifty-four percent of cotton was harvested, behind last year’s 63% and also behind the average pace of 61%. NASS has stopped reporting the condition of the cotton crop this season.

To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov/…. Look for the U.S. map in the “Find Data and Reports by” section and choose the state you wish to view in the drop-down menu. Then look for that state’s “Crop Progress & Condition” report.

National Crop Progress Summary
This Last Last 5-Year
Week Week Year Avg.
Corn Harvested 84 76 81 87
Soybeans Harvested 88 83 93 93
Winter Wheat Planted 89 84 94 94
Winter Wheat Emerged 77 70 83 83
Cotton Bolls Opening 96 94 98 98
Cotton Harvested 54 49 63 61
Sorghum Harvested 73 64 81 84


National Crop Condition Summary
(VP=Very Poor; P=Poor; F=Fair; G=Good; E=Excellent)
This Week Last Week Last Year
Winter Wheat 3 9 34 45 9 3 9 37 42 9 3 8 35 46 8

MANHATTAN, Kan. — The phrase heard around the agriculture world is “tell your story.” Today most Americans are three generations removed from the farm so tales from the tractor are more important now than ever. Wheat farmers saw this need, and their conduit of conversation, EatWheat.org, is celebrating its first year of operation.

EatWheat allows the wheat industry to speak with one voice in an effort to reclaim the national conversation on wheat and share one primary message amongst numerous influencers while we dismantle the false promises of wheatless diets.

When urban consumers look down at their plate, many don’t know how that food came from the farm to their table. While it may not be a topic of constant thought, many have begun to wonder about the farmers who produce the food they consume and the processes used to create such a bounty.

Kansas wheat farmers are the driving force behind the EatWheat.org campaign, which aims to create awareness of farm and production practices through the lens of food as identity. And the food that we think can connect best is, of course, wheat. It’s simple. It’s versatile. It’s natural. And it doesn’t matter if it’s homemade for hours, or picked up at the grocery store ready-to-go – it’s a simple and natural way to connect to others and yourself.

After a year of operation, the good news is that the conversation is working. EatWheat’s Facebook follower count now ranks in the thousands and Instagram is ever-growing. Videos produced sharing the story of American agriculture have garnered tens-of-thousands of views. Fast-paced videos showing quick-and-easy wheat-based recipes have amassed more than 70,000 views on Facebook alone. But the real value in the social media world is the conversations that have been had with consumers who simply want to know where their food comes from.

During wheat harvest, nine food bloggers visited a Kansas wheat farm, flour mill and the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center. They baked with fellow blogger and popular cookbook author Zoë François of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. These bloggers shared their experiences learning about wheat on their blogs and with their 5.4 million social media followers.

More than 120,000 visitors have made their way to EatWheat.org during its inaugural year. These viewers typically come to the website to grab some quick-and-easy recipes, but they stay to learn more about where their food comes from.

EatWheat’s standout traffic performer this first year was Pinterest. The popular Pinterest account has garnered around 3 million views per month on the wheat-based ideas shared on our feed. This totals more than 30 million pairs of eyes on wheat recipes in the last 10 months alone. While not every pin shared on the account comes from EatWheat.org, every pin is wheat related. Every carb-tastic idea seen means that fewer fad diet ideas are shown, which leads to consumers rediscovering wheat in their family’s diets.

Now is the time to have these conversations with consumers. Wheat food consumption is on the rise for the first time in several years. In 2017 wheat for food use rose 14 million bushels over the previous year and flour consumption rose slightly to 131.8 pounds from 131.7 pounds per capita.

If you’re interested in learning more about the EatWheat project, please visit EatWheat.org and amplify these messages by sharing social media posts at facebook.com/eatwheat.orginstagram.com/eatwheat/ and pinterest.com/eatwheatorg/.