Wheat harvest quality and quantity in Kansas impressing farmers, other experts | TheFencePost.com

Wheat harvest quality and quantity in Kansas impressing farmers, other experts

Story and photo Amy Hadachek

The waving wheat in Kansas is yielding sweet results so far this season, with farmers and other experts reporting both high quality and quantity.

"Harvest is 80 percent complete in Central Kansas and should be wrapped up (by June 26th) barring rain. Yields have ranged between 60 and 75 bushels per acre," said Devin Schierling, sales and marketing manager at Team Marketing Alliance, the grain division for five Central Plains companies.

A Kansas wheat specialist reported that wheat harvest in Kansas was progressing impressively.

"Harvest is very active in south central Kansas, and as it moved as up north into Saline and Dickinson counties," said Romulo Pisa Lollato, assistant professor in the agronomy department at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. "Reported yields have been good, ranging on average between 45 to 60 bushels per acre, some more, some less In some cases, producers are reporting that freeze damage is keeping yields lower than what the crop looked like, and that the rain and hail during the previous week also damaged some of the crop in central Kansas.

“It’s really really good. Yield and quality are good.”

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"Test weights have also been pretty solid, generally above 60 to 62 pounds per bushel. Still too early to talk about quality, but preliminary results show proteins low but the early mill and bake results look like good protein quality."

While Kansas State hadn't yet harvested their fungicide versus non-fungicide plots yet, Lollato said he feels positive they'll see a difference between wheat that was sprayed and wheat that did not get sprayed.

Combines in north central Kansas started rolling on the official first day of summer, June 21, and wheat is already getting a good outlook.

"It's really really good. Yield and quality are good. Test weight was running 64," said Arlan Benyshek, a fourth-generation farmer in Cuba, Kan. "We're about half done with the wheat. I've got about 100 acres to go."  

North Central Kansas is averaging 70 bushel wheat this season.

"I've even heard reports of 100-bushel wheat coming in, and everything's looking very good in a widespread area," said Ross Utecht, grain originator with Aurora Co-op in Superior, Neb. He said grain elevators in the Superior area will send samples from each truck to grain inspection facilities to test for quality. Utecht believes the wheat benefitted from a fungicide application.

Farmer Wayne Pachta began wheat harvest, assisted by his four sons in Cuba, Kan. Pachta's sons will also help him roll out several of his antique combines at the end of wheat harvest as a fun community-watching event for the public, as Cuba's Wheat Harvest Festival approaches the third Saturday in July.

In southeast Kansas, where wheat harvest started the week of June 6, agronomist Doug Shoup reported he's been happily surprised.

"Wheat yields are about 10 bushels better than I thought. We are cutting between 40 and 80 bushels per acre wheat with an average in the low 60s," said Shoup, southeast crops and soils specialist with Kansas State University.

Test weights are reported very favorable in southeast Kan.

"Fungicide paid off big this year with some reports of 20 bushel per acre yield increases," Shoup said. He also said some elevators are holding farmers' wheat samples. "It depends on the elevator, but some are holding samples to officially run the state test so they can possibly receive crop insurance coverage."

Just over the northeast Kansas border, wheat harvest in southeast Nebraska is expected to begin the last week of June or by early July.

"I think yields are expected to be pretty good and disease didn't seem to be as big of a problem this year as compared to last year," said Tyler Williams, Nebraska Extension educator for Lancaster County. ❖