Harvest down 25%
Fewer acres planted this year and damage from recent storms reduced this year’s wheat harvest by as much as 25 percent.
Compared to an estimated 2.3 million bushels Cooperative Grain and Supply reportedly took in 2016 from all their elevators, total wheat harvested substantially dropped this year.
“Harvest is just about wrapped up and company-wide we took about 1.7 million bushels, which is down significantly. A lot less wheat and more soybeans and corn were planted this year. The acres are down statewide; it’s the least amount planted since the early 1900s,” Nathan Fish, elevator supervisor for Hillsboro, Lehigh, and Canada locations, said. “Damage was more extensive up north in the broken bridge area on Jade Rd. west of the reservoir but is also extended east of it. There was some substantial damage to corn up near Durham, too.”
Future damage to corn crops is likely to depress corn yield, too.
Fish said there was nothing farmers could do about the corn damage. Wheat can be harvested when storms bend it over even if it doesn’t “bounce back.” Farmers can lower the headers on their combines to reach it; however, this can also make harvest more time-consuming.
Smaller elevators elsewhere in the county experienced smaller shortfalls in wheat.
With 95 percent of wheat harvested near Tampa, Roger Will, Agri Trails Coop location manager, said yields came in at a normal level.
“We’re at about 810,000 bushels,” Will said. “We expected less because there was less wheat planted overall, but high yields made up for the lack of acres planted.”
Perry Gutsch, Agri Trails branch supervisor in Lincolnville, said his location took in about 800,000 bushels of wheat.
“It’s been a good harvest,” Gutsch said. “We had pretty fair test weights, not much FM [foreign materials like cheat and buckwheat], but protein has been a little less than we wanted to see.
“Most of us are seeing low protein; it’s usually always caused by environmental factors. If you have high yields, you probably won’t have high protein.”
Fish echoed Gutsch stating that the wheat Cooperative Grain and Supply had taken in had strong test weights and good yields, but noted bushels were lost because of crop damage from recent storms.
While some wheat and corn crops were damaged by hailstorms, Will said most of the wheat near Tampa had been cut by the time storms hit.
“We had one area that got hit,” Will said. “Lincolnville would have lost more bushels to the storm because it went through there before it came to us.”
Gutsch noted that recent rains had been good for corn and soybean crops but confirmed hail had damaged some crops near Lincolnville.
“We needed the rain,” Gutsch said. “But south of town near Antelope we saw a good-sized amount of damage.”
In southern parts of the county, farmers likely experienced the least damage.
Chuck Knight, Mid-Kansas Coop Association location manager, said Peabody elevator took in about 343,000 bushels of wheat and Florence received about 123,000 bushels.
“We heard about some very slight hail damage and some possible freeze damage, but that was very small,” Knight said. “But we had a little more yields than we thought, and morale seems to be pretty good overall.”