Months of scant amounts of moisture in the rain gauge will impact the coming winter wheat harvest in Kansas.
Tom Maxwell, agent with K-State Research and Extension office in Salina tells KSAL News that for the most part, the yield potential has already been set. “Head size was determined probably earlier this spring as the wheat was starting to break dormancy,” he said.
“So that yield component was already set.”
Maxwell added that with a rebound in moisture and cooler temperatures in the coming weeks, weather could still affect the number of berries per mesh and test weights.
“We would have to have very timely rainfall in order to get at least average yields in this area.”
When combines do roll, the height of the wheat could pose another challenge to producers.
“One concern that a lot of farmers are expressing in this area and to the south of us as well is just simply the harvestability of this crop since it is so short and so thin,” Maxwell said.
Producers will need to get the header on the combine close down to the ground to pick up the grain that may only be a foot to 15-inches tall.
According to Maxwell, some farmers are already talking about using flex heads, used in cutting soybeans, “So they can get right down on the ground – and that floating cutting bar floats at ground level. As crazy as it sounds we may be looking at that in some fields because the wheat is so short.”
Maxwell added the Wheat Quality Tour recently pegged the state wheat yield at 37-bushels an acre.
“If that comes to pass, that’s 90-million bushels less of production than last year,” he said.