Harvest Continues to be Mixed

Based on July 1 conditions, Kansas’ winter wheat production is forecast at 208 million bushels, down 15 percent from last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Average yield is forecast at 32 bushels per acre, down 5 bushels from 2022. Area to be harvested for grain is estimated at 6.5 million acres, down 2 percent from a year ago.

This week wheat coming in looks to be all over the board, according to Jim Bob Lewton, senior Vice President of Grain Operations with the Konza Coop in Pratt.

Harvest in and surrounding Pratt began June 20, about seven to ten days later than when they usually start. Yields have been averaging about 25 bushels per acre, but some fields have been better than others. Proteins have been high, reaching up into 12-13 percent. These recent rains have been causing test weights to dip, remaining in the 58-60 pounds per bushel region. Moisture has been varying with these recent rains, although the grain has remained dry enough for harvesting. Now all that is left is to wait for conditions to dry enough for farmers to get combines in the field.

Lewton predicts harvest will be complete next week. They anticipate that they will only receive 30-40 percent of their usual amount of wheat.

Chris Tanner from Norton reports his harvest began on July 4 and will last about another week, barring rain delays. He said harvest is far later than normal and he is fighting weed pressure.

“I’m amazed at the resiliency of wheat, given what it looked like through the winter,” he said, noting that the Westbred variety Grainfield has been doing well for him.

This year’s harvest is much better than last year for Tanner, who said this is going to be a “highly average year” for the acres he is able to harvest. Even so, about 30 percent of his wheat was zeroed out due to the drought.

Tanner reports that his test weights have been averaging 61 to 62 pounds per bushel, except for the wheat that was hailed on, which was only in the low 50s. Yields are ranging from 15 to 70 bushels per acre, with an overall farm average anticipated to be 25. Protein is about 13 percent.

It was truly a family wheat harvest with four generations in the field. He was fortunate this year that his son, daughter, son-in-law and 6-month-old granddaughter were able to join him, his brother and his father for this year’s harvest.

Evan Lesser, who farms near Palco in Graham County, reports that harvest began on June 26 and he has about 2 days left.

Test weights are ranging from 60 to 64 pounds per bushel and protein measured 15 percent. May rains came a little too late to positively affect yield, but they did help with improving grain fill and test weights. Yields are ranging from 22 to 50 bushels per acre, depending on which fields caught the rain. Lesser says yields were much better last year, with his 2022 farm average better than even his highest yields this year. Overall, this has been a disappointing year for his wheat, one of the worst since he started farming in 2010.  He does, however, have high hopes for corn and grain sorghum.

He reported that Kansas Wheat Alliance’s KS Territory has been an excellent variety for him this year.

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The 2023 Harvest Report is brought to you by the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, Kansas Grain and Feed Association and the Kansas Cooperative Council. To follow along with harvest updates on Twitter, use #wheatharvest23. Tag us at @kansaswheat on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to share your harvest story and photos.