Expectations low as Kansas wheat harvest begins

06/12/2014 5:15 PM

08/08/2014 10:24 AM

Cutting has started, more or less, in southern Kansas for this year’s wheat harvest.

Steve Inslee, general manager of the Kiowa Co-op, said that the southern counties haven’t been quite a soggy as the Wichita area, and farmers have been able to do some cutting this week between rains.

But what farmers are finding is pretty anti-climactic.

“There’s no excitement in cutting wheat this year,” he said.

Farmers are coming in with yields of 10 to 20 bushels per acre, less than half a typical amount. The high, so far, is 23 bushels per acre, he said.

If it’s below 10, they are not bothering to cut, he said.

Dan Cashier, general manager of Anthony Farmers Co-op, said that while the yields in Harper County are awful as well, he was surprised at how good the test weights – pounds of wheat per bushel – were. He said they were running between 57 and 62 pounds per bushel.

“They’re at least marketable,” he said. “But it’s still not real pretty.”

Much of Kansas was largely without rain between August and May, robbing wheat of the moisture it needed to grow and develop grain in the heads.

A June 1 estimate by the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted the state’s wheat harvest at 243.6 million bushels, the worst since 1989.

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