By Julia Debes – Kansas Wheat
It’s Day 7 of the Kansas Wheat Harvest Reports, presented by the Kansas Wheat Commission, the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association.
With an eye to the sky, Kansas growers are maintaining the rapid pace of the 2022 wheat harvest. In the weekly crop progress and status report, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service noted that 27% of the wheat crop had been harvested by June 19, compared to 11% last year and 18% for the five-year average. Statewide, the agency rated the condition of the wheat crop as 27% good to excellent, 33% fair and 40% poor to very poor.
Harvest is two-thirds complete in Cowley County, where the sun shone, keeping humidity levels low and combines moving fast. Yields in the region are between 80 and 85 percent of the five-year average, according to Kevin Kelly, general manager of Two Rivers Coop in Arkansas City. The quality is decent, with test weights close to normal at 60-61 pounds per bushel.
This growing season oscillated between adequate moisture in the fall, a dry spell in late winter, and then almost too much rain starting in late March before drying up just in time for the wheat harvest.
“We are very grateful for what we have received,” he said.
The moisture received has dried quickly, which means there is no disease pressure in the area, but farmers looking to double plant soybeans or with corn tassels in fields are watching for forecast for the next showers. The crop mix in Cowley County has changed in recent years, allowing Two Rivers Coop to harvest more soybeans than wheat. The dry weather means they can hold this year’s wheat crop a little longer than normal before clearing the bins to make way for the fall crop.
Further north and west, harvest got off to a brisk start in Ellis County late last week. Daren Fischer, general manager of the Golden Belt Coop Association in Ellis, said the wheat harvest was about a third complete, having harvested 350,000 to 400,000 bushels since the first load last Friday.
While the wheat is very dry – moisture between 9 and 10% – and the test weight is good, Fischer sees a mix of poor wheat and better than expected wheat. Yields range from 20 bushels per acre to 50 bushels per acre, depending on the variety, farming practices and whether or not people have caught erratic rains.
“Wheat was quite a surprise due to the lack of rain,” Fischer said. “We just had timely rain and wet snow that saved us. It’s just a matter of luck. »
Not all farmers were so lucky. The big white combine – hail – washed away a substantial part of Coop Grain & Supply’s draw area in Bazine, according to managing director Michael Kempke. The co-op is shooting within about 10 miles, and the last two hailstorms have affected nearly 5,000 acres in that area.
Despite storms that destroyed some fields, Kempke reported that the harvest was better than expected for such a dry year. Continuous wheat fields yield between 25 and 35 bushels per acre, while summerfallow fields yield about 45 bushels per acre. Test weights are good at 62 pounds per bushel and protein averages 11.3%.
Harvesting is progressing rapidly, about 40% complete after starting around June 13th. Kempke noted that the first fields caught people off guard by being so dry; humidity averages 10.8 percent. Harvest is moving in the region from the southwest to the northeast, so he expects the combines to work for another week as the easternmost fields continue to dry out.
Acres were already down in the region, with growers turning to more sorghum, driven by international demand. Kempke expects this trend to correct itself this fall with more people returning to their normal crop rotations.
The 2022 Harvest Report is brought to you by the Kansas Wheat Commission, the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association. To follow harvest updates on Twitter, use #wheatharvest22. Tag us at @kansaswheat on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to share your harvest story and photos.