KANSAS CITY — Kansas wheat producers managed to advance the winter wheat harvest 19 percentage points last week despite regular rains that some farmers say have reduced test weights.

In its weekly Crop Progress report issued late July 2, the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicated Kansas winter wheat harvest was 71% completed by July 1 compared with 52% a week earlier and 63% as the 2013-17 average for the date. Harvest in adjacent states was 98% completed in Oklahoma (90% as the average for the date), 80% in Texas (83%), 7% in Nebraska (9%) and 21% in Colorado (9%).

Jim Hern, manager of Skyland Grain, L.L.C. in Pratt county, told Kansas Wheat his team wrapped up wheat harvest June 30, taking in about 35% to 40% fewer bus than an average year.

“We thought there was not going to be much out there in the fields, but we were surprised of the results,” Mr. Hern told Kansas Wheat for its Day 14 Harvest Report, produced in association with Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, the Kansas Grain and Feed Association and the Kansas Wheat Commission.

Yields near that facility were about 35 bus per acre, test weights averaged 62 to 65 lbs per bu, and proteins ranged from 10.5% to 12.5%, Mr. Hern said.

“Compared to the past two years, which were phenomenal, it was a below average or right at the average year for us,” Mr. Hern said. “The rain was a lifesaver for the fields in the area. It was almost too late, but we’re glad that we got it.”

Rains have increased weed pressure and spurred Kansas State University’s Department of Agronomy to update its table of preharvest weed control options for wheat, including the herbicide Sharpen, which has been approved for some additional markets in the past two years. Some elevator operators said recent rain has lowered wheat quality and made dockage more prevalent due to weeds.

“Wheat acres are down, the lowest it has been in many years,” said Dell Princ, general manager of Midway Coop Association in Osborne county, where harvest was about 80% completed after receiving the first load June 14.

He said yields are 15 to 35 bus per acre, proteins are averaging 13.5% and test weights fell four points to 58 lbs per bu after the rain.

“Yields are down 40% in comparison to previous years, but proteins are higher than normal,” Mr. Princ said. “We had two rains in the area, and we would be done by now if we hadn’t. We were set back about 10 days from the rain.”

In Edwards county, rains sidelined wheat harvest and then increased weed pressure, leading many producers to spray their fields and wait an extra week to return to combining.

With harvest in the area nearly completed, John Lightcap, general manager of Offerle Coop Grain Supply Co. in Edwards county, said continuous crop fields were averaging 20 bus per acre and wheat-on-fallow fields were averaging 45 to 50 bus per acre.

“Prior to the rain, our test weights were averaging around 60 to 62 lbs per bus,” he said. “After the rain, test weights dropped a little to 57 to 58 lbs per bus, and proteins came in around 12% to 15%.

“The thing that stuck out most from this year’s harvest was the test weights. I had assumed proteins would be higher this year, but I was pleasantly surprised to see test weights higher, as well.”

The National Weather Service in Dodge City, Kas., anticipates “decreasing cloudiness with dry conditions” for July 3. N.W.S. in Goodland predicts “highs in the 90s on Tuesday, with chances for storms during the evening along and west of the Colorado border” and for the Fourth of July, “a potential for severe storms during the afternoon and evening.” South central Kansas will see “dangerous heat indices around 105 degrees” Tuesday according to N.W.S. in Wichita. The Topeka field office reports highs in the mid 90s to low 100s, with heat indices of 100 to 105 degrees.

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