Harvest picked up momentum and began to move quickly over the weekend. It has reached many areas across the southern and central parts of the state. With the exception of the northwest, most areas are mature, and only the wet ground is keeping some farmers from the fields.
Doug Keesling, a farmer near Chase, reported that his harvest began on Wednesday. The soil in his area is sandy, so they have been trying to avoid the wet areas, but that’s hard this year. They have already received 25 inches of rain since the beginning of January, and their annual rainfall usually averages 24-26 inches. They don’t have a lot of mud holes, but they found one Sunday and got a combine stuck.
Their fields are yielding in the mid to upper 60 bushels per acre, which is about average. It’s still early in his harvest, which will last a total of about two weeks. Test weights have averaged mostly 58-60, with proteins ranging from 11 to 11.5.
John Hildebrand, a farmer near Stafford, reported that harvest really got started on Thursday, an especially late start for the area. While many acres are ready to cut, he said there is still a decent chunk of acres covered in mud holes and some fields that are too green to harvest. Yields in the area are highly variable, but he estimates that many fields will fall in the 40-70 bushels per acre range. He thinks harvest will be in full swing for another week, providing they continue to have good weather.
Test weights have held up well for Hildebrand, with every truckload he has taken in above 60 pounds per bushel. The one load he has received a protein analysis on came back at 10.8 percent. His fields have also missed several hail events that have severely impacted yields in neighboring communities. He is also dealing with some lodging issues.
“We have been really fortunate to be having yields this good despite bad weather during the growing season and spotty looking stands,” Hildebrand said. “We’ve still got several nice looking fields left to go. We have gotten lucky this year, even with the late start.”
Gary Millershaski, who farms in Kearney County, started his harvest on Friday. He reports that his test weights are up to 65.
“We’ve been very pleasantly surprised with above average yields, heavy test weights and good quality grain,” Millershaski said. He said the yields depend on the variety, but an average yield in his area is 35 to 40 bushels per acre, and his fields have been producing better than that. He said proteins in the area range from 9 to 11.5%. His local elevator, which just added storage capacity, says they’re going to start hauling out on Monday. “I’m afraid we’re going to have storage concerns in the area,” he said.