News Column

Mixed results for wheat harvest

July 7, 2014

By Angie Haflich, The Garden City Telegram, Kan.

July 07--As wheat harvest nears completion, results have been as capricious as Mother Nature.

With the wheat harvest about 70 percent complete, Ken Jameson, vice president of the grain division at the Garden City Co-op, said the company's grain elevators have taken in about 4.1 million bushels for its 18 locations.

"Last year, we took about 4.5 million bushels total," Jameson said, adding that yields are varying from 20 to 50 bushels per acre, depending on the area.

Heavy precipitation in June has adversely impacted test weights in the area, he said.

"Companywide our average is 59.98 (pounds per bushel) but it is coming down a little bit every day," Jameson said. "Before the rain, we were at 61."

Jerald Kemmerer, manager at Pride Ag Resources in Dodge City said that the June rainfalls also affected average test weights in the areas they serve, which include Ford, Gray, Finney, Hodgeman, Lane and Ness counties.

"Test weights since the rain have dropped down a point, point and a half. They're running anywhere from 58 to 60. Before the rains they were running right at 60," Kemmerer said, adding that some areas had 10 inches of rain or more in June.

He said that yields are all over the board.

"Farmers who got some timely rains might have 40 to 60 bushels an acre on one field and then two miles south, it's only 15 to 20," Kemmerer said. "We're seeing a lot more 20 than 60."

He also said that a substantial amount of wheat was lost due to hail.

Further south, a lack of moisture has been the issue this wheat harvest.

Matt Overturf, grain division manager at Skyland Grain, which serves Hamilton, Stanton and Morton counties and areas of western Colorado, said that wheat harvest is close to 90 percent complete in those areas and thus far, they have taken in about a third of a normal crop.

"It was better than last year. Last year was only 10 percent of a normal crop," Overturf said.

He said that overall, the harvest for that area is better than expected.

"Quality has held in there, and we've had good test weights, so at least we have something to market," Overturf said, adding that average test weights have been about 61.3 bushels per acre.

He said the areas hardest hit by the drought are Morton, Stanton, Grant and Hamilton counties.

"Those counties are easily the four worst counties in the state of Kansas," Overturf said.

According to Sunday's Kansas Wheat Harvest Report, generated by the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and Kansas Grain and Feed Association, statewide, yields have continued to be lower than average, but have remained above expectations for the year's harvest. The quality of the wheat has dropped slightly due to the influx of rainfall, but still remains good overall.

In that report, Scott Cooperative Representative Steve Kite reported that his company has received around 2.5 million bushels for all seven of its locations and that irrigated wheat has been average 55 to 60 bushels an acre, while dryland wheat is averaging about 20 to 25 bushels an acre. With some fields in the Scott City area receiving up to 12 inches of rain in the last three weeks, test weights have fallen there, as well -- from 62.5 to 59.5 pounds per bushel.

According to the USDA, 70% of all Kansas wheat has been harvested, 13% lower than this point last year, but a large step ahead of last week's total of 40%.


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Source: Garden City Telegram, The (KS)

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