Wheat Harvest---the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Published on: 14:17PM Jun 24, 2008
Clint Eastwood would have loved this wheat harvest. From Texas on north, the yields are good, they’re bad and they’re ugly.
Starring in the role as The Good: irrigated wheat yields in extreme southwest Kansas coming in at 80 to l00 bu/acre. Also, dryland yields near Jetmore and Kalvesta KS with yields of 60 to 70.
Starring in the role as The Bad: Dryland yields in extreme southwest Kansas running south into the Texas Panhandle with yields of l0 to l5.
And starring in the role as The Ugly: Wheat yields running in a strip from Logan County KS into Finney County KS that went from pretty darned good to zero in a vicious hail storm last Friday. For these guys, the Grim Reaper got there just ahead of their custom cutters.
Here on our farm in Lane County KS, we started cutting yesterday. The first 80 made 47 bu/acre with test weights of 59 to 60 and moisture of 9%. Halfway through the next quarter, we got rained out. Still, our cutters say this field was better than the first.
Martin Leu with Altendorf Harvesting, Minto ND, says they had a good run in Texas but yields were highly variable.
In northeast Texas, yields were quite a bit higher than average at 50 to 60 bushels per acre. Average for the area over a period of years runs 30 to 35.
Near Abilene, yields ran 20 to 25—a good yield for the area. “Further west in Vernon, yields were over 50 bushels per acre. But in the Panhandle, yields ranged from l0 to 20 on dryland. Local farmers say these are the worst yields in years. In a normal year, they’d cut 35-bushel wheat. On Panhandle irrigated wheat, yields ran 50 to 60,” Leu says.
“In central Oklahoma, yields were very good at 60 bu/acre. We’ve still got a number of combines stuck in muddy Oklahoma fields.”
Other reports……………from south of Dodge City KS where wheat struggled to emerge last fall, one crop insurance rep said farmers didn’t like their l5-bushel appraisals so some kept their wheat. “And after an ideal May, that may have paid off with yields of 20 bu/acre. That combined with today’s high price has these farmers feeling better.”
Freddy Lorenz in Okeene OK says farmers there were sitting on their best wheat crop in years. “But they got only 20 to 30% cut before rain and hail came home to roost. Our wheat ranged from 42 to 56 with test weights of 60 to 63 pounds per bushel. Afterwards, area wheat was making only 25 bushels per acre with test weights of 53 to 58.”
Lorenz also does custom harvest work and is charging 20-20-20. “A friend on mine cutting in Ulysses KS says yields are l0 to l5.”
Garden City Co-op is predicting yields 60 to 65% of last year’s bumper crop. Best yields are north of Garden and poorest are south of town.
Linden Tuttle, Tribune KS says they got only 3 to 5 inches of rain since last summer. “We’re not too excited about harvest, but will cut most everything we planted.”
Amy Bickel writes in the Hutchinson News that farmers near Syracuse KS abandoned 20% of the crop and never planted another 25% last fall because of drought.
And finally, your words of wisdom for the day----which farmers in the strip running south from Logan County into Finney County already know: you ain’t got a crop till it’s in the bin.