According to the July 9, 2018 USDA/NASS Kansas Crop Progress and Condition Report, winter wheat harvested was 92 percent, near 90 last year, and ahead of 85 for the five-year average. Winter wheat condition rated 16 percent very poor, 30 poor, 37 fair, 15 good and 2 excellent.
Eric Sperber, manager of Cornerstone Ag LLC in Colby, reported the harvest to be one of the fastest harvests for the area, which is currently about 80 to 90 percent complete. They took in their first load on June 27.
Because of the hail storms in the area, yields varied from field to field.
“We received a lot of hail in the area, losing anywhere from 750,000 to one million bushels of wheat this harvest,” Sperber said. “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.”
He also said test weights were excellent, averaging around 61 pounds per bushel, and proteins were mostly 12.5 percent and higher.
Sperber said they got yet another hail storm on Saturday, July 7. “We have had five hail events since June 19, and fields that were missed from the previous storms got hit this time. Overall, the crop has good quality; unfortunately we lost fields due to the hail storms.”
Compared to other years, Sperber said this was an above average year, in terms of quality.
Lane Patmon, manager of Frontier Ag Inc in Seguin in Sheridan County, reported their first load was taken in on June 28, and they are 95 percent complete with harvest. He also said yields were anywhere from 10 to 60 bushels per acre, test weights ranged from 56.5 to 63 pounds per bushel, and proteins averaged around 13.4 percent.
Patmon said this is the first year they have tested for proteins.
“I noticed for this year our test weights are high, along with our proteins,” Patmon said. “Most years our tests weights are lighter and our proteins are higher. This year they both are higher together.”
Bill Spiegel, a farmer from Randall in Jewell County, finished with his harvest two weeks ago on June 24. Spiegel said wheat in his area normally ranges from 65 to 70 bushels per acre, but he reported that this year was about 10 bushels per acre less. The yield losses were due to dryness, as they didn’t receive any rain from October until April.
He also said test weights were surprisingly good, until the area was hit with some rain showers.
“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. It was one of those harvests where we are glad to have it done,” Spiegel said. “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,” Spiegel said. “The rain produced weeds in the fields as well, but we got it all done, and we are ready to start planning for 2019 wheat harvest.”
Editor’s Note: Each year the Kansas City Board of Trade (now part of the CME Group), the 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 16th report of the 2018 harvest.