One of the earliest wheat harvests in recent memory is rolling rapidly across southern Kansas.
As usual, the first elevator to report taking in loads of wheat was OK Coop in Kiowa where assistant manager Dennis Carroll says more than 350,000 bushels had come in as of Monday afternoon.
The harvest so far is better than expected in some areas with disappointing yields in areas affected by drought.
Barber County yields range from almost nothing to 60 bushels to the acre. Quality is excellent with test weight coming in at 62 pounds and a protein value of 13. Carroll says the harvest is about a third done and custom cutters are moving into the area, which should make harvest move much faster.
The Kansas Wheat Commission began its daily reports on harvest on Monday. In that report, Commissioner Scott Van Allen says the harvest is below-average overall in his area around Clearwater, but given the extremely dry conditions that persisted throughout the region last fall and this spring, his 35 bushel per acre average is a pleasant surprise. The best field is the variety Art, which produced 38 bushels per acre. On about 500 acres harvested so far, test weights average about 62 pounds per bushel.
In Englewood, Meade Coop Elevator and Supply general manager Kelly McKinney says farmers began harvest on Monday. Yields range from 8 to 25 bushels per acre and test weights are greater than 61 pounds per bushel on average. Dry conditions mean this year's harvest pace should be much quicker than past years.
Doris Lawrence, grain merchandiser at the Farmers Coop Grain Association of Wellington says the five locations have taken in 325,000 bushels so far. Yields range from 15 to 40 bushels per acre, protein ranges from 11.9 to 16 with a 13.5 average and test weights average 60 pounds per bushel. Lawrence expects the 2011 harvest will yield about 60% of a normal Sumner County wheat harvest.
And between Arkansas City and Winfield in the community of Hackney, Jim Mitchell of Valley Coop says about 50,000 bushels had been received by Monday afternoon. Stands are thin throughout central Cowley County, but crop quality is very good, with test weights ranging from 61 to 63.5 pounds per bushel and protein in the 13s. Yields range from 10 to 45 bushels per acre.