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Yields vary widely

Some moisture-starved wheat yields as little as 10 bushels per acre

Staff writer

Wheat yields ranging from 10 to 50 bushels per acre are being reported across the county as harvest begins.

Jason Kruse of Marion, combining wheat on Darryl Ehrlich’s land just west of Canada at 190th and Nighthawk Rds., said his crew had just started harvesting Monday.

The first field, on higher land, yielded a surprising 40 bushels per acre, but Kruse had to set his combine low because of the wheat’s short height, which he attributed to lack of rain.

Although busy harvesting Monday, he said he would welcome rain — even during harvest.

“I’d take it even right now to help the row crops,” Kruse said.

Workers manning grain trucks while he combined parked in cool shade to escape temperatures that soared to 98 degrees in the late afternoon before a cold front went through Monday night.

Duane Kirkpatrick of rural Peabody had less luck with his wheat, averaging around 20 bushels per acre Monday. Some farmers, he said, had yields as low as 10 bushels per acre.

Deines Farms, with fields east and south of Ramona, was experiencing similar results. Terry Deines said their wheat was averaging 10 to 20 bushels per acre there.

Danny Rudolph was combining Monday at 300th and Timber Rds. on Monday. He started harvest over the weekend and thought his wheat would yield in the 30s and 40s. The test weight was averaging almost a full 60 pounds.

“I’ve never seen it this dry,” the 67-year-old Lincolnville farmer said. “It’s terrible.”

Word from Agri-Trails manager Roger Will at Tampa wasn’t good. The first load came in June 6, but there’s not much wheat to dump this year, he said.

“Farmers are complaining about how many hours it takes to fill a truck,” he said. “They don’t come back very fast. Wheat kernels are small and shriveled, and the test weight is low, in the mid-50s. Harvest won’t take very long this year.”

Cooperative Grain and Supply manager John Ottensmeier said the elevator in Marion began getting wheat Saturday.

“Farmers have been pretty quiet about yields,” he said. “That tells me it’s below average. It’s all pretty shriveled.”

One farmer brought in 120 bushels harvested from a 20-acre field. That’s six bushels per acre.

Test weight is “surprisingly decent,” Ottensmeier said, averaging 56 to 57 pounds.

Mid-Kansas Cooperative elevator at Peabody began getting wheat Sunday.

“Monday was a pretty good day here,” manager Chuck McKnight said. “Test weights are pretty decent, averaging around 60.”

Harvest around Hillsboro had a good start, with the first load coming in Saturday. Dick Tippin, grain coordinator for Cooperative Grain and Supply, said farmers were reporting yields between 20 and 40 bushels per acre. The test weight has averaged 58.7.

“Hopefully, it will get better,” Tippin said.

From a quarter to a half inch of rain fell in the county Monday night, temporarily halting the harvest.

Last modified June 14, 2018

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