Winter wheat harvest shows yield variability for Kansas farmers


Winter wheat harvest shows yield variability for Kansas farmers

A Western Kansas farmer says winter wheat harvest is underway and yields are better than expected.

“We’re definitely excited about seeing that, but we also know we have some poor fields coming on here.”

David Schemm of Sharon Springs tells Brownfield he has more than 3,000 acres to harvest, but the majority has suffered from drought. “Some of it we’re pretty concerned with it. We’re hoping it’s going to make around 20 to 25 bushel.  This is going to be one of our better yielding fields right now.  It’s ranging around that 60.”

Schemm says that field happened to receive more than a foot of snow in December. “Test weight is running great. Sixty-two, 63-pound test weight and protein seems like we’re doing really good. Most of the protein levels are running between 12 and 13 percent protein.”

In other areas of the state, harvest is about a week away.

Chad Focke grows about 1,000 acres near Rexford and tells Brownfield the crop hasn’t fully ripened. “There’s a few green spots out in the field. Green heads, but other than that, field conditions and stuff aren’t an issue. It’s just waiting on the crop.”

He says his area went more than 8 months without measurable rain and drought has limited the crop’s yield potential. “I’m guessing wheat crops are going to be anywhere from single digits maybe to a good few fields that might due into the 50s.”

And, Focke says, “I’m going to guess that test weights are going to be a lot lighter this year with the amount of heat we’ve had in the past two weeks and limited moisture.  Last fall, we didn’t have the moisture when we drilled.  The stand is going to be an issue and it’s not as good as it was last year.”

He says abandonment is not a concern.

According to Kansas Wheat, growers have been harvesting for about a week, with the majority of the crop being cut in the southern half of the state.