As Kansas wheat harvest moves past the halfway point in the northern and western regions of the state, the evidence is in that this was truly a year of the good, bad and ugly.
Hot, windy weather kept the harvest moving despite slowdowns in some areas for occasional, highly welcome rain days.
The best fields have been harvested in south-central Kansas where good fall planting weather allowed the crop to get off to a good start before it was hammered by an extremely dry winter and spring.
The bad and the ugly came in western and southwestern Kansas were drought has been worsening since last spring.
David Schemm, president of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, says yields in Wallace County average about 30 bushels per acre with a range from the teens to as high as more than 40 bushels. Greeley County is seeing more like 10 to 20 bushels to the acre. Both counties suffered scattered hail damage, ranging from light to devastating.
In Rooks County, summer fallow wheat was yielding between 45 to 55 bushels per acre while double-crop wheat behind soybeans or corn was making only 15 to 30 bushels per acre.
Test weights were also dropping as the harvest moved north and west, down from an average of more than 60 pounds to about 58 pounds per bushel.
Jeff Bechard, manager of AgMark, which serves north central Kansas, said yields at the three member cooperatives ranged from 15 to 70 bushels to the acre, with an average of about 40 buhels. Test weight averaged over 60 pounds per bushel early on, but recently has slumped to about 59 pounds. Protein values are over 13. Bechard says farmers will cut 85% of AgMark's planted acres.
Harvest is expected to wrap up this week in most of Kansas, with a few fields, especially those that had substantial spring emergence, still to cut.