USDA revises size of Kansas wheat harvest

A new government estimate reduces the size of this year’s winter wheat harvest in Kansas.

Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service reported Friday that the state harvested 382.2 million bushels of winter wheat. The new number is about 1 percent lower than last month’s report.

Although the 2012 harvest was hurt by drought, the damage wasn’t as severe as in 2011. Total wheat production in the state was up 38 percent compared with last year, when drought took an even heavier toll.

Growers in Kansas this year hauled in the largest winter wheat crop since 2003.

The grain was cut from 9.1 million acres this year. That is 15 percent more wheat acres than the previous harvest. It would have been even higher had farmers been able to harvest all of the 9.5 million acres they had planted to wheat in the fall of 2011.

Many farmers plowed up fields after wheat failed to develop because of the dry weather.

Yields were estimated at 42 bushels per acre.

While recent rains have brought some relief to most of the state, portions of western Kansas remain in drought conditions as farmers start to plant the 2013 winter wheat crop.