Wheat harvest is just wrapping up but now is not a minute too soon to start thinking about seed for the 2016 crop.
Because of the challenging year, the newest varieties could well be in short supply and you will be glad you got your order in early when September rolls around.
In western Kansas, seedsman Vance Ehmke says that yields were good enough that there will be plenty of seed available, but supplies of the preferred or hot varieties will be tight.
"For instance, a newcomer variety like KSU's Oakley did exceptionally well in numerous locations, but there were only four or five growers in western Kansas who grew the variety. The sharp growers already know that and are getting their supplies right now. A month from now, I'd say there will be no more Oakley out there."
In Russell County, seedsman Dave Reisig says he had an excellent harvest and supplies of good quality seed will be available for all of his regular customers with more available to other areas of the state if supplies are short.
"From I-70 north and the Hays area west, the quality of the wheat this year was excellent. Yields were only a little above average, but quality was awesome," Reisig said.
He said that supplies of the popular Clearfield Variety from Syngenta Agripro, AP-503, will be plentifull this year.
"It has been in high demand. Last year we had a good harvest and some carryover and this year we got the perfect conditions for grain fill and we got excellent test weights. We will have ample supplies of AP-503 to be able to move some seed into south central Kansas if it's needed," Reisig said.
Not all locations were that lucky. Some areas were hit hard by drought and freeze, then too much rain and disease that robbed test weight.
Ehmke advises growers in those areas to get seed orders in right away if they want to get the latest top varieties.
For those who wait, there will still be plenty of seed but they may have settle for a variety that has been out a few years, he said.
Reisig said he initially thought that the May rains came too late to help the drought-stressed crop, but the cool weather that lingered through May provided the perfect conditions for grain fill.
He said that he, like most seed producers in the state, went ahead with a fungicide application even when the crop didn't look promising.
"That was a good decision," he said. "The diseases really came on strong with the rain and those that didn't apply fungicide took a pretty big hit."
One thing farmers can expect this fall is lower prices for seed wheat, reflecting the lower cash prices for the crop.
Ehmke is estimating that certified seed will be between $10 and $13 a bushel if the price of elevator wheat remains at current levels of about $5.50 a bushel.
"A good rule of thumb is that certified seed will be about twice the price of elevator wheat or maybe a little more," he said.