Day 2, Kansas Wheat Harvest Report

Kansas Wheat

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This is day 2 of the Kansas Wheat Harvest Reports, brought to you by the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, Kansas Grain and Feed Association and the Kansas Cooperative Council.

 

Rain is an ironic concern for this year’s wheat crop, but producers are asking Mother Nature to hold off just a bit so they can get a quickly ripening crop out of the field and into the bin before weed pressure sets in.

 

Harvest is a family affair near Garden Plain in Sedgwick County, where Martin Kerschen is harvesting alongside his son Justin — the sixth generation on the farm. Since starting harvest on Wednesday, June 5, they are seeing yields from 50 to 70 bushels per acre on fields planted to SY Monument. Proteins range from 12 to 13 percent. Rains from the weekend took a slight toll on test weights, but Martin Kerschen is extremely pleased with how this year’s crop is turning out — especially compared to last year.

 

“I enjoy years like this,” he said. “You try the best you can, and we’re happy with yields and how our wheat looks this year. There’s a big smile on my face.”

 

While still variable across some fields, the wheat crop is also looking much better in Dickinson County, where fourth-generation producer Bryant Olson farms near Gypsum with his father Gary, brother Trenton and uncle David. The family started cutting on Friday, June 7, in hopes of getting as much cut as possible ahead of last weekend’s storms.

 

While still good quality, test weights did fall after the rain — from 62 pounds per bushel to 60 pounds per bushel. Protein is ranging from 12 percent to above 13 percent. High quality is essential as 10 percent of the Olsons’ wheat acres are grown for their certified seed operation.

 

The operation planted several varieties, including LCS Atomic AX, LSC Helix AX, KS Mako, KS Providence, KS Larry and Bob Dole. Two more weeks and harvest should be wrapped up for this family.

 

“Wheat harvest will be early enough that we won’t have to worry about weed pressure,” Olson said. “Hopefully it doesn’t rain too much before we get it all up, and we will be sitting a lot better than last year.”

 

Sumner County missed the recent rains and Tim Turek, who farms near South Haven, is praying rain stays out of the forecast so farmers do not have to worry dealing with pigweeds or crabgrass until harvest is over. Then, he welcomes the moisture to benefit his cattle and fall crops.

 

Turek started cutting at least a week earlier compared to a normal year and avoiding the rain delays meant he kept cutting over the weekend. He’s seeing field yields anywhere from 40 bushels per acre to above 70 bushels per acre. Test weights are hitting 62 pounds per bushel thus far, with proteins averaging between 10 and 12 percent. He has been especially pleased with the varieties AP Prolific, AP18 AX, AP24 AX and Bob Dole.

 

“There is no comparison to last year,” Turek said, “Honestly, I can’t believe the recovery we’ve had with the whirlwind weather this year. You have to attribute it to the progress of the genetics over the past several years because when I was a kid, wheat wouldn’t have survived what this wheat has been through.”

 

Turek hauls quite a bit of his wheat to the Scoular Grain elevator in Wellington, where grain merchandiser Doug Zeller is seeing both excellent yield and proteins across the board.

 

Zeller reported they started taking in wheat about two weeks ago and plans on receiving grain for at least 10 more days. Test weights are averaging 62 to 63 pounds per bushel and proteins are staying steady at 11 to 12.5 percent.

 

“This year is much better than expected on both spectrums,” he said. “With higher yields, we typically see lower protein and test weights. This year that isn’t the case.”

 

With heat indices estimated to reach 100 degrees by Thursday, harvest is likely to continue progressing quickly across the lower two-thirds of the state.

 

The 2024 Harvest Reports are 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, use #wheatharvest24 on social media. Tag us at @kansaswheat on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to share your harvest story and photos.

 

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Written by Julia Debes for Kansas Wheat

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