Crop Conditions – May 23, 2014

Kansas Wheat Commission held its board meeting today at the K-State Agricultural Research Center in Hays, Kansas. I visited with a few Kansas Wheat Commissioners to find out about the quality of their crop and when they believe they’ll be able to start harvest.

Richard Randall from west central Kansas, Scott County, reports his wheat is all kinds of stages – most of it is headed; some of it is just starting to head. “We’ll probably be cutting wheat from June 20 to July 4. We’re going to have yields all over the board from very close to not being profitable to cut to some decent wheat that’s under irrigation.”

Mike McClellan, from Palco, who farms in Rooks and Graham Counties, reports, “Our late planted wheat looks really tough right now. We’ve had a little rain over the last couple days. We’re hoping it perks up a little bit. We have two fields we’re destroying because it was so far behind it never was going to make anything. We’re hoping we have some decent wheat on some of our earlier planted wheat – 25 to 30 bushels per acre. We’re pretty far down from where we’d like to be. I’m thinking we’ll probably start harvest around the 20th of June.”

Jason Ochs from Syracuse, Kansas, reports, “Depending on which area of the county depends on how well the wheat looks. There’s a whole lot that’s not even going to be harvested. It’s going to be destroyed. There’s other areas that it’s going to be 10-15 bushel wheat. We’ll probably start arournd June 25th for harvest.”

Doug Keesling, Rice County in central Kansas, reports, “The wheat in our area has gone through many ups and downs. We have some that has been turned into insurance but we have not heard the results yet because we are waiting on appraisers. And we have some that’s going to be average. In our area we’ll probably start somewhere around June 15th which will be a few days early for us. Things are maturing fast because of the drought. Our lack of rain is our number one issue in our area – short wheat and lack of rain.”

Scott Van Allen, Sumner County, reports “Harvest will start about the 13th of June. We’re hoping for a 30 bushels wheat crop this year. Our normal wheat crop is around 40 bushel, so the yields are off quite a bit from normal.”

David Radenberg, Barton County near Claflin, with ground in Rush County and Ellsworth County, reports, “The ground in Rush County, the wheat looks pretty good. It’s going to be our normal harvest time – 20th to 25th of June. In Barton County, it looks pretty good. There are a few places in no-till that we had a few issues with winterkill. That being said, it still looks reasonably well. My Ellsworth County ground has been a little bit short on moisture. It got good emergence, but it was stunted pretty bad by lack of moisture. Harvest time on that is about June 20-25, probably closer to the 25th of June. Yields are going to be an average yield in the 30 to 40 bushel range.”

Ron Suppes, Lane and Scott County, reports, “I put out about 4000 acres of wheat. I have probably 600 to 700 acres that was continuous crop that could be turned in for a loss at this time. Cool weather two weeks ago has enabled our wheat to head out. Up until that point in time, since January, we’d had less than two inches of moisture total. I anticipate that some fields will be cut, possibly 15 bushel wheat. There will be more abandonment, especially if we don’t get rain this next go round. As far as the wheat condition, the stuff that’s still out there that is still growing that is headed out, I think will be on a normal timeline for harvest probably June 20.”

Guorong Zhang, wheat breeder at the K-State Agricultural Research Center in Hays, reports, “The wheat breeding program at Hays also has drought stress. This year we got less than 3 inches of rain, so it’s very much stressed. A lot of our wheat plots we’ll harvest 10-20 bushels, if we get rain now. If we don’t get rain now, some of the plots will fail. Last week I traveled to nurseries in Minneola, Ness City, Pawnee, and Colby. Minneola has a lot of freeze damage and drought stress. Maybe it will be crossed off the list for harvesting. Ness City is very drought stressed, so I already decided to cross it off the list. Colby is ok. Yesterday they got another inch of rain, so I think they will make it. I also visited Osbourne County; we have a nursery over there. That’s the best wheat I’ve seen. It’s in northern Kansas. They got much more rain than here (Hays). Pawnee got about three inches just a week or two ago. Some plots are still ugly after the rain, maybe because it was stressed before the rain. Pawnee still can make it, although they also have some freeze damage. Graham County is also ok. So far, we have lost one or two locations, so that’s good. Next week I will drive to Garden City. I think it will be similar situation as Hays; it’s very much drought stressed.”

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