PITTSBURG — Despite unseasonably wet weather in the area, the wheat harvest in Crawford and Cherokee counties appears to be coming in on schedule.
“Rain continued to be hit or miss over the holiday weekend,” according to the July 7 Kansas Wheat Harvest Report from the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association. “Many Kansas wheat farmers spent their Independence Day in the wheat field. Some areas in south central Kansas have finally wrapped up their harvest, but there are still a lot of acres left to cut in the rest of the state. [...] While yields are lower than the last couple years, they are in line with the 10 year average.”
In Girard, a large majority of wheat —about 90 percent— has been harvested. It is questionable whether local farmers will harvest the remaining 10 percent because of recent wet weather, according to Sarah Shepherd, grain merchandiser with Producers Cooperative Association in Girard.
“Quality has gone down and I think they’d rather get their beans in,” Shepherd said.
The average yield has been 45 bushels per acre for hard red winter wheat, and 70 bushels per acre of soft wheat, Shepherd said, with an average test weight of 57 pounds per bushel. Moisture content has been 14.5 percent. For many local farmers, planting soybeans is currently the top priority.
“They’ve got to have beans planted by July 15 or crop insurance lowers their coverage,” Shepherd said, “so that’s kind of the big thing right now.”
In Cherokee County, the wheat harvest has similarly been largely completed.
“I’d say we’re probably 90 percent done county-wide,” said Matt Case, general manager at Farmer’s Cooperative Association in Columbus.
Yields were average, at 40 to 45 bushels per acre for hard wheat and 70 to 75 or more bushels per acre for soft wheat, Case said.
2019 was “not a great year, but not a fail by any means,” Case said, adding that average test weight for wheat was probably 58 pounds per bushel. Moisture content was 13.5 percent and below.
“We didn’t have any moisture problems,” Case said. “It all came in dry.”
Overall, he said, the wheat harvest has gone well, and the forecast is good for other crops, with 90 percent or more of soybeans already planted.
“Corn is doing well with all the wet weather,” Case said. “It’s right on track.”
Jonathan Riley is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org