According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, wheat in Kansas is 73 percent harvested, below 76 percent last year and near 72 percent for the five-year average. Last week rainfall of one inch or more was measured in most counties, a welcome relief for row crops, but a damper for wheat harvest.
Dell Princ, manager of Midway Coop in Osborne, reported that most of his locations had seen light showers in the last week.
“It’s hard to complain about rain because it’s getting time for those row crops to really need it,” said Princ. “We probably have four or five days’ worth of harvesting left to go, weather permitting.”
Princ said that the area had good harvesting conditions Wednesday and Thursday, but there is a chance that more rain could come in on Friday and Saturday. Osborne has seen varied yields in the area, from 20 to 80 bushels per acre, but Princ estimates that most fall in the 40s. Test weights have decreased approximately four pounds per bushel due to showers, a trend that is not surprising. Princ reports proteins in the low 11s.
Eric Sperber, manager of Cornerstone Ag, LLC. in Colby, reported that harvest started on June 27th, a later start than normal for the area, and is half completed. Sperber could count four rain events since the start of harvest and six hail events since maturity.
“Hail was, by far, our most devastating disease,” said Sperber. “Hail was an equal opportunity problem this year with damage from the separate events in all directions surrounding Colby.”
Yields have been highly variable, and test weights have held relatively stable. Sperber said that they have only lost around a pound per bushel for test weights since the first three days of harvest, even with the rain. Proteins started off strong in the area, but as harvest progresses it seems to be a little bit more hit or miss.
Wheat streak mosaic virus was present in the area, and rust was also found. According to Sperber, rust crept back into the crop even after farmers had applied fungicide because the timeframe between application and wheat maturity was so spread out.
The million dollar question for the area this year was, “What about the late season snow?”
“Most people were pleasantly surprised at the lack of impact from the snow,” said Sperber. “One farmer had an early planted field that looked like a mess after the snow. It stood back up, but fell over again at grainfill. He wasn’t expecting much, but it ended up yielding 60 bushels per acre and over 60 pounds per bushel.”