Harvest of winter wheat kicks off early in many areas of the country, with strong yields.
As of June 3, USDA estimates 20% of the 2012 winter wheat crop has been harvested. That is way ahead of the average 3% by this date.
Arkansas leads in harvest progress with 95% harvested, normally 17% has been harvested by this date. Oklahoma farmers have harvested 73% of this year’s crop, which is also dramatically ahead of schedule. The five-year average for Oklahoma at this point in the season is 13% harvested.
Harvest is between 20 and 30% complete in California, Kansas, Missouri and Texas.
Condition of the crop is pretty mixed. As of June 3, 6% was rated very poor, 12% poor, 30% fair, 40% good and 12% excellent.
Encouraging Yield Reports
A farmer in Darlingtonand Lee counties, South Carolina reports, to AgWeb Crop Comments
, that he started wheat harvest on May 21. "We are averaging 70 bu./acre."
Similar high yields have been reported in McLennan County, Texas. "Wheat harvest has begun, yields of 60 to 70 bu. are common."
Some farmers can’t believe the fast maturity of this year’s wheat crop. In Callaway County, Mo., a farmer says the wheat is looking scary good. "I am 54 and never have I ever even heard of wheat harvested in May in our state! Many times it has been July 4th!!"
According to farmer submissions to AgWeb’s Winter Wheat Harvest Map
, yields are pretty strong so far. The map’s average national yield, on 10,712 acres, is 56.88 bu./acre.
According to their research, winter wheat yields have trended higher since 1960. But, there has been substantial deviation from the trend yield in individual years. Over the 52-year period, the average yield was above the trend yield in 48% of the years and below the trend in 52% of the years.
What does that mean for 2012? "We estimate the trend yield for U.S. winter wheat in 2012 to be 47.5 bu./acre based on data from 1960-2011. The odds slightly favor a winter wheat yield below trend in 2012."
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Normally wheat harvest wouldn’t have even started by this point in time, but this year is anything but normal. AgDay has more.