Combines are rolling across wheat fields in south-central Kansas, with early reports promising a good crop.
Elevators in the Kiowa area as well as those in Cowley and Sumner counties are now receiving grain, Justin Gilpin, the executive director of the industry group Kansas Wheat, said Tuesday.
Early reports are that test weights look good, and that is one of the reasons farmers are pretty anxious to get into the field, he said.
"The sense is that it is a pretty good wheat crop out there — both quality wise and bushel wise — and people want to find out what is out there for sure and get it in the bin," Gilpin said.
The Texas harvest had been stalled because of all the rain there, but if the hot, dry weather holds as forecast for the region cutting could extend from central Kansas to northern Texas by this weekend, he said.
At the Two Rivers Co-op in Arkansas City, Kansas, on the border with Oklahoma, elevator manager Terry Ramsey said Tuesday that his company's elevators had already taken in some 75,000 bushels of wheat, most of it coming from Kansas growers. Test weights were running about 59 to 62 pounds per bushel.
The industry benchmark for top quality wheat is test weights of at least 60 pounds per bushel.
As of Sunday, about 16 percent of the Texas winter wheat has been cut, along with 5 percent of the wheat in Oklahoma, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday. The agency had no wheat harvest totals yet for Kansas.
Only a few combines were cutting in Kansas over the weekend, but activity has been picking up in the state Monday and Tuesday, Gilpin said.
NASS reported on Monday that 60 percent of the Kansas wheat out in the field is in good to excellent condition. About 32 percent is rated as fair and 8 percent as poor to very poor.
"This is that time of year when nine months' worth of hard work has gone into a crop and now you get to harvest those bushels and harvest that labor," Gilpin said.
Winter Wheat Harvest Kicks Off