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Early wheat harvest under way

POSTED May 23, 2012 3:56 p.m.
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On Wednesday, the Kansas City Board of Trade, the Kansas Grain and Feed Association, the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Association of Wheat Growers issued their first Kansas Wheat Harvest Report.
They do this every year. The difference was that it came out on May 23.
“One of the earliest Kansas wheat harvests in history officially began May 22 near the town of Kiowa in Barber County, where the OK Coop took in 35 truckloads of wheat,” the report reads.  Each year, Kiowa is the starting point for the annual wheat harvest.
Brett Courson, assistant manager at the OK Coop, said harvest gained momentum Wednesday, with 90-plus degree temperatures and strong south winds. Harvest activity in the area was widespread, with early yields ranging from 40 to 57 bushels per acre and test weight ranging from 56 to 62 pounds per bushel with a 61 pound average. Courson says a few weeks ago, farmers expected much larger yields, but heat, wind and a lack of late-season rain has taken the top off the yield.
But, the cutting wasn’t limited to the southern tier of Kansas counties.
Donnie Pound, manager of the Kanza Co-op location in Stafford, said some fields hit hard by drought have been cut already. One patch harvested Tuesday yielded 29 bushels per acre, with 56.5 pound test weight. Farmers are still waiting for additional fields to dry down. Harvest will be in full swing this weekend, says Pound, who anticipates farmers have lost one-third of their wheat yield potential due to the recent heat and dryness.
Elsewhere, in Cherokee County, a few loads of wheat have been taken into the Farmers Coop Association of Columbus, said Manager Machelle Shouse. Farmers there report yield averages of about 50 bushels per acre, with test weights about 59 pounds per bushel. Several farmers have brought in samples of wheat that are too wet; however, activity is expected to pick up Thursday.  
At the Hackney location of Valley Co-op in Cowley County, just a few dry fields have been identified by farmers, although a great deal of test cutting is taking place. One small field has been harvested and achieved 62 pound test weight and a 57 bushel per acre yield. The wheat looks good, according to the elevator staff; harvest will begin in earnest by the weekend.


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