KANSAS CITY — The Kansas winter wheat harvest continued to advance in the absence of rain, showing high protein and better-than-expected test weights, Kansas Wheat said in its daily harvest update.
“Clouds may have covered most of the state throughout Wednesday (June 13), but the rain kept away for yet another day,” Kansas Wheat said in its Day 3 Kansas Wheat Harvest Report.
Jan Strunk, who farms near Colwich, Kas., said he was finishing up harvest at midweek with expectations of an average yield of 35 bus per acre and a test weight of 59.5 lbs per bu. He expected higher protein levels than in past years.
“The heads just didn’t fill out,” Mr. Strunk said. “There were only half the amount of kernels that we normally have. It’s a lot of factors in that, the drought, shallow root systems and the freeze. We’ve been pretty fortunate that we’d had several good harvests back to back before this one. We can’t have a bumper crop every year, unfortunately. That’s just the nature of the business.”
Brad Wedel, manager of the Moundridge, Kas., branch of Mid-Kansas Co-op, said the elevator received the first load of new crop wheat on June 7 and harvest in the area was about 50% completed. Quality looked good, but yields were elusive, he said. Protein was very high at 13% to 14%.
“Right now we’re averaging around 59 lbs per bu,” Mr. Wedel said. “Our benchmark is 60, but we were honestly expecting much lower. In the previous few years 13 (per cent protein) was considered high. This year, that will be a bit lower than average. In 30 years in the business, I think this is the highest protein crop I’ve seen.”
Yields in the Moundridge area ranged from 25 to 45 bus per acre, Mr. Wedel said, due to a lack of rain and late freezes.
“Even though yields are lower this year, I think it’s important to point out that technologies we have now have really helped the crop survive the curveballs that nature throws at it,” Mr. Wedel said. “If we would have had these conditions 30 years ago, we would have been looking at single digits to maybe 15 bus per acre.”
The harvest can be followed on Twitter at #wheatharvest18.