Custom harvesters working in Kansas and eastern Colorado have been slowed by rain this past week and forecasts indicate more rain delays through the weekend.
The crop remains in good condition other than rain and wind knocking over stalks. The fallen stalks slowed combines as they recovered the grain. The harvesters said disease and quality problems could develop if the rain continues.
“We just looked at the forecast and it’s not good. We have a chance for rain all next week,” said harvester Rob Holland, who had combines in eastern Colorado and in northwest Kansas. “The quality is still there. There are exceptional yields. The further west you go, the higher the yields.”
The latest forecasts show rain in Kansas this week, but the 6- to 10-day outlook, (July 6 to 10), favors hot, dry conditions there.
Yields of 60 bushels per acre or better have been common in Kansas and test weights continue to be about 60 lbs. In northwest Kansas, near Hill City, harvester Janel Wolf reported 75 bushel yields with test weights at about 61 lbs.
The slower pace of harvest has a number of harvesters concerned they may have difficulty meeting commitments further north. Hot weather has accelerated wheat maturity and now Nebraska and South Dakota are about ready for harvest.
“We just haven’t had a day when you could start in the morning and go to midnight,” said harvester Mike Strunk, who was working in western Kansas. “I have machines sitting. We have an 80% chance of rain the next three days.”
Strunk said the wheat remains in good condition and is “one of the best they have raised in a long time.” While more rain could hurt test weights, he said “we are not there yet.”
While some harvesters will remain in Kansas next week, others will move to eastern Colorado or Nebraska.
USDA on Monday rated Kansas wheat 64% good to excellent, up 2 points from the prior week, and said the state’s harvest, as of June 26, was 58% done. That compares with 37% a year ago and the 50% average. Nebraska wheat was 4% harvested.
Kansas is forecast to produce 393.6 million bushels of wheat this year, up 22% from 2015, with an average yield of 48 bushels on 6% fewer acres. Oklahoma is projected to harvest 115.5 million, up 17% from 2015 and Texas 89.6 million, down 16% from 2015.
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