Wheat harvest is started in the Harvey County area, with loads of wheat coming into Farmers Coop Elevator in Halstead and MKC in Walton.
Jack Queen, manager of the Farmers Coop Elevator in Halstead, said his location received its first load of wheat on June 7. While that day was a few days earlier than average it was considerably earlier than what many would have predicted a month ago.
"When it doesn't rain and it gets hot it speeds things right along," Queen said.
Queen said the quality of the wheat coming in is good — but the quantity is down.
In Halstead, yields are ranging from 25-50 bushels per acre while in Walton yields have been between 15 and 40 bushels an acre.
“The yields are not super good,” Queen said. “They are 10 to 20 (bushels per acre) off of average. That is where it looks like where we are three or four days in. We are just kinda getting started.”
“The yields are all over the board,” added Jonathan Reazin, manager of the MKC Walton location.
Test weights have held well, ranging from 59-62 pounds per bushel in Halstead and Walton. Proteins are averaging in the 13 percent range, which is about a percent and a half above what the location has seen in the last few years.
Queen estimated the harvest was about 30 percent complete for the southwest portion of Harvey County.
“If we keep missing the rains, we can be done next week,” Queen said.
The Walton area is just getting started — the first loads of wheat came in June 11. Reazin said about 20 percent of the crop is in and cutting could last about two weeks.
Reazin said hot and dry weather will help the harvest, though not row crops.
“We still have some fields that have not dried down yet,” Reazin said. “We are a little bit all over the board depending on the variety.”
The county received a few late season freezes, but they didn't affect yields like many had predicted. Lack of rain also contributed to a lack of disease in his area. The area, like all of Harvey County, is currently listed as an extreme drought area on The United States Drought Monitor.
David Janzen, a Butler County farmer, told the Kansas Wheat Commission that his family's harvest started Monday evening. Other farmers in the community had reported slightly lower than normal test weights, but Janzen said that all of their loads had been over 60 pounds per bushel. Rain was on everyone's minds during the growing season, but unfortunately it wasn't in the cards for Janzen and his neighbors. While the wheat started off with a bit of rain early during planting, its next measurable relief was toward the end its maturity, which meant it was too little, too late. He estimated most of his wheat had received around three to four inches of rain throughout its growth while normally his area would receive more than 10 inches.
Lack of rain meant little to no disease pressure for the area. Janzen was also concerned about a few late season freezes, but while some white tips can be seen on wheat heads, he felt like it had not had the impact on yields that he had predicted. Yields were averaging in the mid-thirties, a pleasant surprise for Janzen.