Kansas wheat is yielding better than expected as late spring rain helped the crop overcome damage from drought and the harsh winter, custom harvesters said this week.
Wheat Harvest 6/25: Dry weather, better yields found in Kansas
Yields of 35 to 50 bushels per acre have been common throughout central and western Kansas, with test weight of 49 to 50 pounds in poor fields to 59 and 60 in the good ones.
"It is not a bin buster, but it is better than anyone expected," said Chad Brink, a Remer, Minn., -based custom harvester.
"The wheat is anywhere from 35 to 50 bushels per acre. It is all over the board. I think everybody is surprised at the yields in a good way," said Brink, who is operating near Dighton in western Kansas.
Rain arrived late in the growing season but it helped the crop recover from the drought and winter cold.
"The rain kept many of them (farmers) from losing the crop," said Kansas –based harvester Shorty Kulhanek. "The wheat is doing well."
Nearly a week of dry weather allowed combines to easily move through Kansas fields without having to contend with the mud and fallen stalks that had plagued harvesters in Texas and Oklahoma.
Near Goodland in northwest Kansas yields of 38 to 45 were common, with some higher.
"The test weights are 58 as the quality is better than southeast Kansas and Oklahoma. The weather has been cooperating," said custom harvester Nancy Eberts from South Heart, N.D. "We are not seeing frost damage, however certain varieties of winter wheat did suffer winter kill."
Near Garden City in the state's southwest corner a few low-yielding fields were abandoned as it was not worth cutting, said harvester Irvin Odegard.
However, non-irrigated fields there yielded 35 to 40 bushels and a few irrigated one has 70 bushels.
"There was some good wheat and some not so good," he said of the area.
Odegard, who is based in Whitetail, Mont., heads to Colorado after finishing in Kansas and from there to Nebraska. Other harvesters will head to Nebraska, but a number of them said wheat in that state it may take about a week before that wheat is ripe.
Wheat Harvest 6/18: Rain sidelines combines in Oklahoma
In west-central Kansas near Bazine, yields ranged from 12 to 35 bushels, with the 12-bushel grain weighing 49 to 50 pounds a bushels and the 35 about 59 pounds, said harvester Janel Wolf of Belfield, N.D.
"The wheat has been OK. It was pretty much as expected," she said. "It has been real hot and dry."
USDA this week forecast Kansas would harvest 8.8 million acres of wheat, the same as in 2014. Earlier in June it said the state would produce 314.5 million bushels, compared with 246.4 million last year.
On Monday, it said the state's crop was 48% harvested, compared with 38% a year and the 60% average.