The Kansas Association of Wheat Growers says one of the earliest Kansas wheat harvests in history officially began May 22 near the town of Kiowa in Barber County, where the OK Coop took in 35 truckloads of wheat. Each year, Kiowa, is the starting point for the annual wheat harvest.
Brett Courson, assistant manager at the OK Coop there, says harvest gained momentum Wednesday, with 90-plus degree temperatures and strong south winds. Harvest activity in the area was widespread, with early yields ranging from 40 to 57 bushels per acre and test weight ranging from 56 to 62 pounds per bushel with a 61 pound average. Courson says a few weeks ago, farmers expected much larger yields, but heat, wind and a lack of late-season rain has taken the top off the yield.
Donnie Pound, manager of the Kanza Co-op location in Stafford says some fields hit hard by drought have been cut already. One patch harvested Tuesday yielded 29 bushels per acre, with 56.5 pound test weight. Farmers are still waiting for additional fields to dry down. Harvest will be in full swing this weekend, says Pound, who anticipates farmers have lost one-third of their wheat yield potential due to the recent heat and dryness.
In Cherokee County, a few loads of wheat have been taken into the Farmers Coop Assn. of Columbus, says Manager Machelle Shouse. Farmers there report yield averages of about 50 bushels per acre, with test weights about 59 pounds per bushel. Several farmers have brought in samples of wheat that are too wet; however, activity is expected to pick up Thursday.
- At the Hackney location of Valley Co-op in Cowley County, just a few dry fields have been identified by farmers, although a great deal of test cutting is taking place. One small field has been harvested and achieved 62 pound test weight and a 57 bushel per acre yield. The wheat looks good, according to the elevator staff; harvest will begin in earnest by the weekend.
The 2012 Harvest Salute to Producers is sponsored by the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and sponsors Kansas City Board of Trade, and the Kansas Grain & Feed Association.