Wheat harvest could be mostly finished by the end of the weekend, and yields might be slightly above average if hot, dry weather continues.
Phil Timken, location manager of Mid-Kansas Coop Association in Peabody, said harvest started with a bang.
“We did a little on Friday then — boom — on Saturday it was all right there,” Timken said. “It was a big day. We took about 45,000 bushels.”
With some fields ready to cut and others still green, test weights coming from the Peabody area have been “excellent,” he said, about 62 pounds per bushel. However, yields from area farmers varied dramatically.
“Some guys are getting more than 75 bushel per acre, “Timken said. “Some aren’t quite getting 35 bushel per acre.”
Cooperative Grain and Supply grain coordinator Dick Tippin said many farmers north of Hillsboro had started harvesting.
“Some guys are over half there; others haven’t even started yet,” he said. “I’d say we’re about a third done so far.”
As of Tuesday, Hillsboro elevator had taken 315,000 bushels, Marion elevator had 194,000 bushels, Canton elevator had 115,000 bushels, Lehigh had 61,000 bushels, and Canada had 35,000 bushels, he said.
“We might be looking at about 50 to 60 bushels per acre this year,” Tippin said. “Some farmers have been pleased with yields so far, but not with the price.”
Wheat was at $5 per bushel in June of last year. As of Tuesday, it was at $3.70 per bushel.
“It’s not going to pay very many bills,” Timken said. “The guy who gets good yields should probably break even or do a little better, but the guy who doesn’t get good yields probably won’t break even what will all the input costs in seed, fertilizer, tillage fungal spray and so on.”
With a 40 percent chance of rain and the possibility of a few severe storms in the forecast Tuesday, crops could be affected for better or worse depending on the severity of weather.
“A light sprinkle wouldn’t do anything,” county extension agent Rickey Roberts said, “but if there is a sizable rain event, the wheat berries would likely shrink or shrivel after the wheat dries back down, and test weights would probably drop.”
“An inch of rain wouldn’t hurt the wheat,” he said. “We need it for the corn and soybeans crops.”
If it does not rain, Timken said, Peabody area farmers would likely be done with the majority of wheat harvest by the end of the week, and Tippin anticipated Hillsboro, Marion, Canton Lehigh, and Canada harvests to be about 80 percent complete.
Roberts said hay crops, especially brome, now were doing well overall.
Brome in the Peabody area is about 95 percent cut, and has turned out to be a “good, heavy crop,” Timken said.
Alfalfa is doing better than brome in Tippin’s area.