Kansas farmers are nearly finished with this year's wheat harvest and those with wheat still in the fields are either waiting for dry weather or contending with weeds, according to the latest harvest report from the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association.
In Clay Center in central Kansas, David Pfizenmaier, a representative of AgMark, said area farmers who are still harvesting should be finished in the next five days.
"Yields this year are the most variable I've ever seen. We've had some abandonment happen on the western part of the county, but we have also heard of some people getting 50-60 bushels an acre in the eastern portion," he said.
Test weights average 59.5 bushels an acre and protein is higher than normal at 13%-13.6%. Clay Center has received 850,000 bushels so far this year, down from its five-year average at this point of 1.2 million. The final bushel totals should be down 55% from last season.
Kansas is the largest wheat state and on Monday USDA said harvest there was 70% done versus the 88% five-year average. The state's crop was hurt by drought for much of the growing season, then by a spring freeze, and lastly by rain during harvest.
USDA estimates the Kansas crop at 243.6 million bushels, down about 24% from 2013.
In Ellsworth, also in central Kansas, Larry Sheridan, a representative of Ellsworth Coop, said the area's harvest will be about 60% to 65% of an average crop. Yields have varied widely with reports of 7 to 60 bushels an acre. Recent rain has reduced test weights from 61-63 pounds per bushel before the rain to 55-58 pounds afterwards.
The harvest near Winona in western Kansas is about 50% done, said Richard Kvasnicka, a Winona farmer. About eight inches of rain since June slowed the process as Kvasnicka has had let his fields dry. His yields have been 15 to 20 bushels an acre, with the exception of fields damaged by hail in June. There has been some insect kernel damage and test weights are 58 pounds per bushel.
"This year the wheat is standing a little bit taller for us in comparison with last year, but so are the weeds," Kvasnicka said.