KANSAS CITY — Farmers in western, central and northcentral Kansas were running combines overtime on June 19, hoping to beat forecasted rain.
While a boon to producers growing fall crops, the latest precipitation is simply “too little, too late” for the dry Kansas hard winter wheat crop, Kansas Wheat said in its seventh Harvest Report.
Kansas Mesonet, a part of the Weather Data Library at Kansas State University, reported the maximum five-minute rain amount Tuesday in Kansas was 0.39 inch at Lane, southeast of Ottawa, while the maximum one-hour rain amount, 1.58 inches, was recorded at Scandia in northcentral Kansas’s Republic county.
Mid-June rains could stall wheat harvest and substantially increase weed pressure. The Meade, Kas., area, which is around 90% harvested, could wrap up in about two or three days if major rainstorms hold off, said Randy Acker, manager of the Meade Coop Elevator, where the first load of new crop wheat was received June 9 and the average test weight was about 60 lbs per bu.
“This year will be a short harvest in duration and a short harvest in receipts,” Mr. Acker told Kansas Wheat. “We didn’t catch enough rain to raise a wheat crop, but I am surprised by the quality.”
While many parts of south central and eastern Kansas have completed harvest, other areas of the state are still in the thick of it. Yields have fallen, but average protein are up in the Luray area in north central Kansas, where harvest was around 30% completed.
Jennifer Princ, manager of the Midway Coop Association in Luray, said this year's yields were averaging around 35 to 40 bus per acre, though yields as low as 20 and as high as 67 bus per acre have been reported. Ms. Princ estimates the final average yield will be well below the area’s normal yield average of 45 to 50 bus per acre.
Ms. Princ said the average test weight at Midway, which received its first load June 14, was 61 lbs per bu. Proteins were averaging 12.4%, an increase of 1.2 percentage points over 2017.
Farmers in the area have noted a significant number of white heads in fields caused by several late freezes, exacerbating the condition of wheat already suffering from a lack of moisture. Some green wheat remains in the field.
“There’s still quite a bit of green wheat in some of the fields out there,” Ms. Princ said. “If we don’t get the rain that was predicted this week, we’ll probably have some guys who have to stall and wait for their wheat to dry down. It all just varies with variety and plant date.”
The Harvest Report is a collaboration between the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association.
Harvest updates can be seen by searching #wheatharvest18 on Twitter.