Wheat harvest rocks

By Rose Schneider

With wheat harvest successfully underway, farmers are admitting their yields are good but don’t want to be the first ones to brag or jinx themselves said K-State agriculture extension agent Greg McClure.

This year’s wheat harvest started a little sooner than predicted with farmers in the area taking advantage of the favorable weather as early as June 26. Although the June 27 storm postponed their harvest briefly, the heat made it possible to get back in the fields without too much time lost.

“They’re going really hard right now and will continue to as long as it dries up during the day and isn’t so hot that people are miserable,” McClure said.

So far McClure the average test weights are 60 pounds per bushel in the Manhattan area. Farmers have yields ranging from 40 to 80 bushels per acre, with a 60-bushel average, said Darin Marti, general manager of the Farmers Co-op Association in Manhattan, in a report from the Kansas Wheat Commission.

Test weights are lighter at the co-op’s Onaga and Alta Vista locations. More wheat was planted in the Alta Vista area last fall than usual, helping the elevator to take in nearly 400,000 bushels, which would be about double its annual total.

“Lines have been long” at the grain elevators, McClure said. “When I ask what the yields are [people] say, ‘good,’ not wanting to be the first one to say how good. It is an indication that they’re getting really good yields, because they don’t want to be the first one to give a number.”

Considering that farmers are only mid-way through harvest, this could be a very profitable year compared with recent years.

“By the end of this week or early next week they should be done; those without a lot of acres may be done early,” McClure said. “Even those with many acres may finish ahead of schedule; the equipment is much bigger now.”

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