It has never been a secret that it is every Kansas wheat farmer's goal to get the harvest in by the Fourth of July (at least in modern times) for a couple of reasons _ so he can celebrate "independence" and so the firecrackers of his neighbors don't set his (pick a year) 40-50-60-70-bushel crop on fire.
This year it just won't happen for a few farmers. For others, the only way the harvest is done is because hail harvested a lot of it a couple of weeks ago.
On Thursday, the last day before the July 4th holiday officially begins, Kansas Wheat Commissioner Richard Randall welcomed visitors from Brazil to his Scott Coutny farm, where harvest is about two-thirds of the way to done.
Randall says yields are excellent, test weight are coming in at 60 to 63 pounds and protein values exceed 12%. You can't ask for better than that for a buyer to visit.
David Schemm, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers vice president from Sharon Springs, is one-third complete with harvest in Wallace and Logan counties. Schemm says most farmers are averaging from 55 to 60 bushels per acre, and test weights above 64 pounds per bushel. Protein content has ranged from 10 to 12.2%. The varieties Overley and Tam 111 have provided the most consistency, he reports.
Harvest began on June 26 for Richard Kvasnicka, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers director from Winona. He reports yield averages of 50 bushels per acre, with test weights ranging from 61 to 64 pounds per bushel and protein of 11.5 to 13%. Kvasnicka says this year's harvest will be above average for the area.
At Hi-Plains Coop's Grainfield location, harvest is about half complete, with about 350,000 bushels taken in as of Thursday. Jill Zerr says farmers are reporting yields ranging from 42 to 66 bushels per acre and test weight ranges from 60-63 pounds per bushel. Protein is in the 11.5% range.
Jay Armstrong, Kansas Wheat Commissioner from Muscotah, wrapped up a disappointing harvest this week. Too much rain and hail reduced yields throughout northeast Kansas wheat fields; Armstrong's wheat yields ranged from 32 to 46 bushels per acre. Test weight averaged 57 pounds and protein, 12%. Armstrong says that reduction in wheat acreage is creating huge demand for wheat straw and many farmers are selling straw bales to supplement the income from their wheat crop.