KANSAS CITY — Producers say increasing values and protein premiums are a bright spot in a winter wheat crop suffering from low yields after a dry growing season and hail damage.
“If we’re not going to have the yields, the increasing price and the protein premiums definitely help,” said Lisa Schemm, a farmer in Wallace and Logan counties. “We were ready for this crop to be done with so we can move on to the next,” she told Kansas Wheat for its Day 15 Harvest Report, produced in association with the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, the Kansas Grain and Feed Association and the Kansas Wheat Commission.
Ms. Schemm said half of her family’s planted wheat acres were hailed out this year and the remaining crop saw more freeze damage exceed expectations, which took its toll on yields, so much so that the family wrapped up their harvest in about four days. She estimates wheat in her area is about 90% harvested with test weights up to 62 to 63 lbs. She also added that protein in the area was much higher than in recent years.
Bryson Haverkamp, technical service representative with Indigo Ag, said harvest in his eastern Kansas territory began June 9, quickly progressed, and is nearly complete. Yields for the region were highly variable, but he estimates that the average was between 35 to 40 bus per acre.
“The variability is a combination of planting dates, crop rotation, moisture at planting and whether or not the field got a timely rain or two,” he said. “The first spot that I heard of cutting was near the Hope/Herrington area. They were right in this rain dead zone, so the wheat was definitely dry and ready to go.”
Test weights in the area ranged from about 58 to 60 lbs per bu. Proteins are also higher than recent years with an estimated average of about 13.5%.
“Yields are down across the board this year, but it seems to be a higher quality crop,” Mr. Haverkamp said.
Lane county was heavily affected by hail, said Logan Campbell, Dighton Area grain manager at the Garden City Coop Inc., which received its first load June 16, and then experienced some rain delays.
“I would say that we are about 65% to 70% of the way done with harvest in the area,” he said. “With the hail damage that we have had, it’s hard to give an exact number on how far along we are. An average year for the area is about six to eight million bus, and as of June 3, we were just a hair below 5 million bus” due to fewer planted acres and losses from a May 14 hail storm.
“The storm stretched from the western side to the eastern side of the county, taking out a five-mile swath, which was about one-third of our harvest,” he said. “It affected us pretty significantly and the storm didn’t leave anything behind.”
Yields have ranged considerably, from 10 to 50 bus per acre and “test weights started out amazing at 65 lbs per bu, but then it rained,” Mr. Campbell said. “From there they dropped. The average from the northern area of Lane, which is what I oversee, has been 60 lbs per bu.” He reported that proteins have been averaging from 12.5% to 13%.
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