Kansas farmers are contending with mud and poor yields during the early stages of the wheat harvest, according to the season's first harvest report released jointly by Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association.
In Kiowa, near the Kansas-Oklahoma border, yields of 10 to 12 bushels per acre were common with test weights about 58 pounds per bushel, Steve Inslee, manager of the OK Coop Grain Co., said in the report. Wheat has trickled into his location since early June with about 100,000 bushels taken in of the 500,000 bushels expected for the season.
"This is probably not even half of what we took in last year and last year was half of a normal crop," he said.
Low yields had been expected as hard red winter wheat from Kansas to Texas was hurt by drought, an April freeze and most recently by harvest-time rain. Earlier this month, USDA estimated the Kansas harvest, typically the nation's largest, at 243.6 million bushels with an average yield of 29 bushels per acre, compared with 319.2 million bushels and a 38-bushel yield a year ago.
On Monday, USDA said 2% of the Kansas wheat was harvested, well behind the 19% five-year average. The Oklahoma and Texas harvests were farther along at 47% and 40%, respectively.
Harvest on Janice Gates's family farm in Anthony south of Wichita began on Friday, was halted by weekend rain, and resumed on Tuesday. The yield was about 10 bushels per acre, with test weights before the rain of 57 to 59 pounds.
In the south central Kansas town of Clearwater, Scott Van Allen reported low yields and short wheat plants. The shorter crop made it difficult to keep the combine header out of the mud. Test weight on Van Allen's wheat was about 58 pounds.