What the Kansas Wheat Commission calls “one of the earliest wheat harvests in history” got underway in extreme south-central Kansas this week.
At the OK Coop in Kiowa, Kansas, general manager Steve Inslee says the harvest is starting a good two weeks ahead of normal. And Inslee says, so far, there has been a lot of variance in yields.
“Mainly because of the dry fields, they’ve burned up—never really got enough moisture to get a good yield out of it—but the later stuff has been better yields,” Inslee says. “I’d have to say right now we’re seeing them anywhere from 35 to 45. Test weight has been good on most of it—I’m going to say most of it is 61 pound test weight—so we’re setting really good there.”
Inslee says there was a lot of optimism about the crop earlier in the year, but heat, wind and a lack of late-season rain has taken the top off the yield.
“We had a couple of really hot days back there in April when the wheat was pollinating and stuff—and I think that probably hurt some of our yields in this area,” he says. “We had a little bit of hail damage come down along the state line—I know that’s going to hurt our area a little bit, too.
“So we’re going to have some tremendous yields in some fields—and then others are going to be a little disappointing.”
Overall, Inslee says, it looks like an “average” wheat crop in southern Kansas this year.