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Variability reigns as wheat harvest rolls north

Jeff Caldwell 06/20/2013 @ 9:10am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

The combines are whittling out the wheat crop around Oklahoma and starting to move into Kansas as farmers continue to find a huge range of grain quality and yields.

As harvest nears its end in southern Oklahoma and just gets rolling in the northwestern portion of the state, test weights are running fairly consistently in the low end of the average range, from the mid-50s to about 60 pounds per bushel around Oklahoma, says Oklahoma Wheat Commission executive director Mike Schulte. That's about where the consistency ends; some yields are as low as 10 bushels/acre, while most yields in the north-central and northeast parts of the state are coming in between 40 and 55 bushels an acre.

"Areas of Eldorado, Altus, Frederick, Gotebo, and Chattanooga are 90% to 97% complete depending on the location. The wheat taken in this part of the state has been reported to be making anywhere from 8 to 15 bushels per acre in many of the fields; we have had some reports of fields doing better making anywhere from 20 to 25 bushels per acre. Some producers have been saying it is doing better than anticipated, but we still have a lot of abandonment in this part of that state," Schulte says. "Areas north and south of Enid have been slowed with harvest progress because of the rains this past weekend. This area of the state is approximately 20% to 25% complete with harvest. Much of the test weights reported in this region were averaging 60 pounds per bushel before the rains this past week. Yields reported in this region have ranged from the mid-20s to as high as 60 bushels per acre. A lot of yield reports coming in from this area reported to be making 40 to 55 bushels per acre. Protein tests coming in from this region have been reported to be staying strong around the 12% range."

As the combines get back up and running after rains delayed harvest activity earlier in the week and last week, harvest made its way north into Kansas earlier than expected, getting into "full swing" this week in south-central Kansas, according to Kansas Wheat Commission communications director Bill Spiegel.

"After weather-related stops and starts, the 2013 Kansas wheat harvest is officially in full swing in several south-central Kansas locations, with test cutting as far north as McPherson County in central Kansas and as far west as Clark County," Spiegel says. "Harvest traditionally begins near Kiowa, where a few isolated fields of wheat were harvested last week. On Tuesday, however, the harvest campaign really got under way, according to Steve Inslee, general manager of the OK Co-op in Kiowa. So far, about 350,000 bushels have been taken in by the elevator."

Test weights are coming in slightly below normal, and protein levels have ranged between 12% and 16% so far after reports out of Oklahoma showed a protein range from 12% to 19%.

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