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#WheatHarvest16 Continues to Impress

As Oklahoma winds down a great harvest, the exceptional yields are moving north.

With winter wheat harvest in full swing throughout Kansas and Oklahoma and moving into eastern Colorado and southern Nebraska, farmers are keeping an eye to the sky in hopes of getting the crop in before late-season storms.

Harvest progress has been rapid, as temperatures have soared to above 100˚F. the last five days, although a few afternoon thunderstorms in southern Kansas Thursday stopped progress. With each rain event, test weight typically drops a pound or two. But overall, farmers seem to be pleased with the 2016 wheat crop.

“We were within a week or two of having nothing, then it started raining.” - Jay Leeper

Jay Leeper finished canola and wheat harvest this week and reports some of the better yields he’s ever had. “I cut some 70-bushel wheat this year, which is almost unheard of,” the Dakoma, Oklahoma, farmer says. His best field was the Oklahoma State University variety Iba.

Interestingly, some of his better wheat followed a very good grain sorghum crop. “I harvested 100-bushel grain sorghum last fall and then planted wheat. To cut 100-bushel milo and 70-bushel wheat the same year is unusual,” he says.

Leeper says the north-central Oklahoma region also cut a very good canola crop. His canola bested 50 bushels per acre. In normal years, the yield would be 35 to 40 bushels per acre. Spring rains and favorable growing conditions made the difference.

“I was within a week or two of having nothing, then it started raining,” Leeper says.

Kansas farmers also are reporting higher-than-expected yields:

In its June 22 Harvest Report, the trade group Kansas Wheat indicates wheat yields throughout Kansas continue to impress.

Rick Wolting, manager of Farmway Co-op in Lincoln, Kansas, reports yields ranging from 40 to 80 bushels an acre. Trucks began hauling wheat into the location last week, and Wolting estimates that the area isn’t quite half done.

Test weights have also ranged from around 58 to 65 pounds per bushel, and Wolting’s location has seen up to 13% protein content. Late-season fungicide applications by many farmers protected yield from disease, he adds.

Hays, Kansas, farmer Steve Binder says yields range about 40 to 45 bushels an acre in continuous-crop wheat and 60 to 65 bushels an acre on summer fallow. Test weights are hovering around 59 pounds per bushel.

Mother Nature is in Charge

Not all farmers are faring as well. Near Liebenthal, Kansas, farmer Greg Legleiter says thunderstorms over the weekend of June 17 brought hail, which caused up to 60% loss in some of his wheat in Rush County. Legleiter began harvest on June 17. The storm didn’t wipe out all his family’s wheat, but where it hit, it hit hard.

Still, #WheatHarvest16 continues to impress:

  • According to the Salina Journal, wheat farmers in central Kansas are “pleasantly surprised” to find yields averaging better than 60 bushels per acre, with many fields in excess of 80 bushels per acre. 
  • In western Kansas, some farmers report yields in excess of 100 bushels per acre on summer-fallowed fields, according to Kansas AgLand.
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