Rain continued to be hit or miss over the holiday weekend after many Kansas wheat farmers spent their Independence Day in the wheat field. Some areas in south central Kansas have finally wrapped up their harvest, but there are still a lot of acres left to cut in the rest of the state, according to the Kansas Wheat Harvest Report issued Sunday by the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association.
While some areas in northwest Kansas have begun, they have been chased out of the fields by scattered storms. Localized rainfall amounts range from zero to more than 8 inches across the state. There is still green wheat in some areas as well.
Josh Debes, who farms near Hoisington, reported that, “with all things considered, late planting, hail damage and weed pressure, we’re pretty happy with this year’s crop.”
While yields are lower than the last couple years, they are in line with the 10-year average. Debes says they are down to their last 30 acres of wheat to cut, but with 2 1/2” of rain Saturday night and more expected Monday night, they won’t be able to finish those up for a few more days. Harvest began June 26, which is much later than normal. Josh and his wife Julia returned to the farm five years ago, and this is the first time they have even cut wheat in July.
Debes reported that test weights are holding up, with even the late planted wheat holding near 60. Even their rust resistant varieties had some rust in them this year, and there were drowned out spots and some late weed pressure. Damage from hail reduced yields in some fields. He said planting date was key; the late planted fields had yield reductions.
Brian Sieker, who farms near Chase, reported that it’s the tail end of harvest in his area. Western Rice County is nearing completion, but he has seen plenty of acres in Barton County that are waiting to be cut. Yields are highly variable, from 25-80 bushels an acre, and test weights are holding steady at 60-63 pounds per bushel. Sieker said that the area has seen damage from hail and flooding. While he doesn’t have exact numbers for his wheat, he has heard neighbors say that there are pockets of protein in the area where they have received a premium.
“We’ve had some good and bad surprises this year,” Sieker said. “But it’s something you just have to take in and learn from for the next year.”
Jason Ochs, who farms near Syracuse, said harvest is going really well this year. Their only problem is that they keep bumping into wet wheat, with some still testing as high as 18% this weekend. Scattered rains and wet ground have delayed harvest. Yields are about double their normal yields in the area, averaging 60-70 bushels per acre this year. Most of the area is about half to two-thirds complete with this year’s harvest. Protein is below average, and Ochs reports his protein is mostly ranging from 10-11%. Test weights for hard red winter wheat are holding up at 60-61, and hard white wheat is even higher at 63+.
The 2019 Harvest Report is brought to you by the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association. To follow along with harvest updates on Twitter, use # wheatharvest19.